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Relief as Rylstone spared from coal threat

Lock the Gate Alliance has welcomed the NSW Government’s decision not to release land in the Rylstone district for new coal exploration. 

The Preliminary Regional Issues Assessment released yesterday by the Department of Regional NSW found that there would be a detrimental social impact if coal mining were introduced into the area, citing the devastating depopulation of nearby communities at Wollar and Bylong. It also cited the risk coal mining would pose to biodiversity, scenic and tourism values and significant Aboriginal cultural sites. 

The report also questioned the economic viability of a new mining venture, given the forthcoming closure of local power stations and expectation that “demand for thermal coal is also expected to decline and at a rate faster than anticipated, as forecast by the 2020 World Energy Outlook.”

Lock the Gate Alliance spokesperson Georgina Woods said, “This is a sensible decision by the NSW Government and reflects both the will of the local community and the broader public interest.

“We have seen the devastating impact that coal mining has on small farming communities and we’re frankly relieved that the NSW Government has recognised that Rylstone is more resilient without mining. 

“With this decision, our attention turns to other small communities that are in the firing line, like Wollar and Wollombi. We’re hopeful they too can be spared and that they can plan for a sustainable future in a decarbonising world.”

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