Lock the Gate Alliance says the New South Wales Government must not go through with plans reported in The Australian this morning to weaken laws that protect Sydney’s drinking water catchment so that Springvale coal mine would not have to comply with them.
Springvale coal mine supplies coal to Mount Piper power station in the Blue Mountains. It also dumps polluted water into waterways that feed Sydney’s Warragamba dam.
Environmental group 4Nature successfully argued in the Court of Appeal in August that an approval granted to a controversial expansion of the coal mine two years ago was not valid because it had not considered crucial catchment protection law that requires any development in Sydney’s drinking water catchment to have a “neutral or beneficial effect” on the quality of water in the catchment.
The mine has not been ordered to close by the court, and has been operating continually since the 4Nature victory, while arguments are made in court about what remedy the Land and Environment Court should impose, given the role of the mine in supplying coal to Mount Piper.
“The Land and Environment Court has a job to do to honour the law that protects the pristine quality of our drinking water from coal mining and other development," said Georgina Woods from Lock the Gate.
“Weakening the law for the convenience of a coal mining company that is polluting drinking water is a reckless and unnecessary reaction. Protecting drinking water should be our highest priority.
“There’s plenty of coal being mined in this state, we’re mining more coal than ever before. The idea that a power station cannot secure alternative supplies if a polluting coal mine must be closed to protect the water that supplies Sydney is absurd. Who’s running this state? The coal industry or the Coalition Government?
“We urge all members of parliament not to weaken this important law and let the Court do its job finding a solution to this impasse that does not compromise Sydney’s drinking water,” Georgina Woods said.