The NSW Planning Department's recommendation in favour of a coal mine expansion that would send nearly 900 million tonnes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and blanket nearby Muswellbrook in air pollution is an outrage, says Lock the Gate Alliance.
The department described the MACH Energy owned Mount Pleasant expansion as “approvable” this afternoon, and referred it on to the Independent Planning Commission (IPC).
The expansion would be responsible for 876 million tonnes of CO2e over its 22 year lifespan, making it the most carbon polluting project ever assessed by the IPC.
In its assessment report, the department acknowledges existing community concerns over dust and noise from coal mining, but recommends the expansion occur anyway.
Lock the Gate Alliance NSW coordinator Nic Clyde said with communities across Australia suffering from the impacts of the climate change extreme weather, and Hunter families experiencing worse air quality than most across the country, the department’s recommendation was appalling.
“Muswellbrook was recently found to have the worst air quality in the state thanks to its coal mines and power stations. The Mount Pleasant coal mine is literally on the doorstep of town and making it larger is going to worsen this problem,” he said.
“For the Planning Department to endorse this coal mine expansion shows callous disregard for Upper Hunter residents suffering from respiratory problems.
“Local air pollution, coupled with the mine’s gargantuan carbon emissions should have clearly ruled out this coal mine expansion project.
“For the department to recommend another coal mine expansion so soon after a Federal Election in which a huge number of Australians voted for greater action to mitigate climate change shows there is an urgent need for a reset by Premier Perrottet and his government. Planning decisions must meet community expectations, and the community clearly expects governments to do better when it comes to climate action.
“The department claims it ‘acknowledges that a global transition away from fossil fuels’ is required under the Paris Agreement, but in the next breath recommends approval of a project with the largest greenhouse footprint of any new coal project ever assessed by the NSW IPC. It’s madness.”