The Morrison Government appears hell-bent on approving as many coal mines as it can before the Glasgow climate conference, with Environment Minister Sussan Ley giving the green light to two locally-opposed projects this week.
Yesterday, approvals for both the Mangoola thermal coal mine expansion in the Upper Hunter, and the Tahmoor metallurgical coal mine south west of Sydney appeared on the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act project assessment website.
Added to the emissions predicted from the two other recently approved coal mines, Russell Vale and Vickery, Sussan Ley has now waved through coal projects that will be responsible for 587 million tonnes of GHG emissions since the Federal Court ruled she had a “duty of care” to Australia’s young people not to cause them physical harm from climate change. That’s more than Australia’s total annual GHG emissions.
Tahmoor local and Undermined Inc spokesperson David Eden said he was bitterly disappointed.
“People here survived the 2019 Black Summer Green Wattle Creek bushfires and have cried as Thirlmere Lakes dry.
“We have no escape from climate change. Clearly Sussan Ley doesn’t care about us or future generations.
“The Tahmoor coal mine will belch at least 2.3 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent into the atmosphere each year right here in NSW, making it the most polluting coal mine in the state for direct emissions.”
Lock the Gate Alliance spokesperson Georgina Woods said it appeared Sussan Ley was abandoning Australian children who would be forced to live with the climate harms she had helped create.
“Glencore’s Mangoola coal mine expansion was opposed by Muswellbrook council and local landholders because of its unacceptable social and environmental impacts. But the Morrison Government seems more interested in allowing Glencore to make a few extra million out of exploiting the Hunter Valley than it is in the welfare of the community and the land,” she said.
“These are the third and fourth coal mining projects the Australian Government has approved in recent weeks despite a recent Federal Court judgement acknowledging the harm to human health, and particularly to children.
“These decisions come just weeks before pivotal global climate change negotiations at Glasgow. It is frankly alarming to witness this country digging itself deeper into its obstinate refusal to take climate change and rural sustainability seriously.
“This is the result of the Morrison Government’s refusal to have any kind of valid climate change policy and it will be Australian children and rural communities that will pay the price.”