The Independent Planning Commission’s reckless and irresponsible approval of a coal mine expansion that will be responsible for nearly one billion tonnes of carbon emissions shows the desperate need for a national approach to assessing major polluting projects that considers their climate change impacts, says Lock the Gate Alliance.
The Alliance is now calling on Federal Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek to refuse the Mount Pleasant expansion project, given she has the final say on its future.
As well, the decision to approve the project comes less than two months after a legless lizard living within the expansion’s footprint was confirmed to be an entirely new species.
The expansion will also threaten Wonnarua cultural heritage sites, and worsen air quality for Muswellbrook residents.
Lock the Gate Alliance NSW coordinator Nic Clyde said the approval was evidence of a broken planning system.
“It is madness that as humanity teeters on the brink of climate catastrophe, an assessment authority such as the IPC can wave through a coal mine that will be solely responsible for 876 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions,” he said.
“This project is the largest coal mine expansion approved in the state since the Paris Agreement called on nations of the world to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees yet is totally inconsistent with that pledge.
“As if the global climatic ramifications of this decision are not bad enough, it could also lead to the extinction of a species of legless lizard only confirmed as new to science two months ago.
“It will tear up irreplaceable Wonnarua Cultural Heritage Sites, and blanket Hunter communities who are already struggling with respiratory related health conditions with clouds of coal dust.
“Future generations will shake their head in horror that this coal mine was approved in the face of all that we know about its climate and direct impacts.”