June 21, 2011

Mid-West group calls for wider study on mining impacts

The Mid-Western Community Action Network (MWCAN) has called for a more wide-ranging study on the effects of mining proposals in the Mid-Western Region.

Council last week considered a draft consultancy brief for a study to be funded by the Department of Planning and Infrastructure, to look at the effects of mining on local and regional infrastructure in the Mudgee region.

The study will look at the how proposed mines will identify which additional services will be needed to cater for growth resulting from mining projects.

Speaking at council’s open day, MWCAN spokesman Chris Pavich said the study area should include the villages of Lue, Rylstone, Kandos, Charbon, Clandulla, Ilford and Bylong, all of which were already significantly affected by coal mining or were likely to be affected.

Mr Pavich said the study should also look the effects of limestone, rhyolite, dolomite, and magnetite mining in addition to coal mining. He also called for the effect on rail and air transport to be included in the brief as well as roads.

The study brief should include increased use of the airport, and the effect of increased use of the rail corridor on village such as Lue, Charbon and Kandos, he said.

Mr Pavich said expansion of mining would also have a significant impact on Rural Fire Service (RFS) recruitment in areas such as Wollar.

Although mines relied on the RFS to provide fire fighting services, the number of volunteers available was falling as permanent residents moved away from areas such as Wollar.

Mines’ demand for water was also likely to affect he entire region, he said.

“Libraries, sports, and children should all be mentioned in the consultancy brief,” he said.

“We also need to think about liveability in the region in 30 years time when the mines are done with us.”

Mr Pavich asked that the MWCAN, Mudgee Business Association, Kandos and Rylstone business groups, Mudgee District Environment Group, Running Street Water Users Association be included in consultation as part of the study.

A report to the Mid-Western Regional Council has also supported the inclusion of Gulgong, Rysltone and Kandos in the study.

Council deferred adoption of the consultancy brief to consider MWCAN’s comments 

 Source:  Mudgee Guardian 20 Jun 2011

June 10, 2011

Mudgee Region Community Action: Moratorium on Coal Expansion -UPDATE

The gathering/protest outside the Mudgee Council Chambers tomorrow has been cancelled.

Bev has been contacted by the media tonight and they are unable to be present in the afternoon.  Bev thought it best to completely cancel the gathering rather than changing the time and risk confusion and have people standing around cold and miserable for little gain.

Really sorry for the short notice and inconvenience to those that were planning to go.

Below is what the Environmental Defenders Office’s monthly e-bulletin had to say about tomorrow’s case.

Please note that you are most welcome to sit in on the hearing which starts at 1pm.


Rob Binks

(MWcan secretary)

EDO case update: Hunter Environment Lobby Inc v Minister for Planning and Ulan Coal Mines Ltd

The EDO, on behalf of the Hunter Environment Lobby Inc, has commenced proceedings in the Land and Environment Court to challenge the merits of the Minister for Planning's approval of certain coal mining activities at the Ulan Coal Mine, located 40 kilometres north of Mudgee. Proceedings have been commenced against the NSW Minister for Planning and Ulan Coal Mines Ltd. The approvals being challenged allow for the consolidation of Ulan's 24 existing development consents into a single planning approval, expansion of its existing underground “longwall” mining operations and new open cut mining operation. These approvals will see a doubling of Ulan's existing approved production rate to up to 20 million tones of coal per year. The mine expansion is predicted to have a significant impact on groundwater, which is expected to take 200 years to recover. It will also result in the clearing of 409 hectares of vegetation, including 69 hectares of endangered ecological communities and habitat for several fauna species. The greenhouse gas emissions from the mine will add approximately 12.7 million tonnes of carbon dioxide per year to the atmosphere, exacerbating global anthropogenic climate change. The grounds of appeal are in relation to groundwater, biodiversity offsets and greenhouse gas emissions and the EDO has engaged experts to give evidence on these matters. A 15 day hearing commenced this week and we will keep you updated with any further developments.

June 6, 2011

Basin mining and CSG recommendations should apply across the State.

The same rigorous rules recommended for mining and coal seam gas developments in the Murray-Darling Basin should apply across the whole of New South Wales. That’s the view of members of key community, water and environmental groups who gathered at a region-wide meeting in Rylstone on the weekend.

Their call comes after the release of the report ‘Of droughts and flooding rains’ (http://www.aph.gov.au/house/committee/ra/murraydarling/report.htm), handed down by the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Regional Australia, after its inquiry into the impact of Murray-Darling Basin Plan.

The report, released last week by the Committee’s chair, Tony Windsor, makes numerous recommendations aimed at limiting any adverse impacts by mining and gas developments on water.

These include ensuring that “no mining activities are approved that impact water resources” until  such time as these impacts “are fully understood and able to be mitigated”, and seeing relevant legislation and regulations in place “as a matter of urgency”, to ensure the “long-term health and productivity” of water resources.

“What Tony Windsor and his fellow committee members are saying is that water is too precious a resource to be wrecked by mining and coal seam gas extraction. This is what we’ve been saying all along,” said Jolieske Lips, President of the Running Stream Water Users Association (RSWUA), one of the groups represented at the Rylstone meeting.

Peter Grieve, Interim President of the Bylong Valley Protection Alliance (BVPA) agreed: “We have been of the view for a long time now that no development should take place without a full and rigorous understanding of how local water systems work in total – and we just do not have that information available.

“Going in blind – or even half-blind – is just asking for trouble,” he said. “That’s why we’ve petitioned the NSW Government for a proper water study before any further development decisions are taken.”

Rylstone District Environment Society President, Rado Marjanac and Barbara Hickson, President of the Mid-Western Community Action Network both put the view that there was no reason the same approach shouldn’t be applied across the remainder of NSW.

“It’s the same industries and the same issues – and the same very sensible recommendations by the Committee should apply everywhere. The idea that less stringent standards might apply just over the range in the Upper Hunter makes no sense at all.”

The Rylstone gathering was the first of what is planned to be an ongoing series of collaboration and strategy development between the ever-growing number of groups in the region and surrounding areas concerned about mining and coal seam gas.

Media spokesperson for the Mudgee District Environment Group, Bev Smiles, said the meeting was all about “working smarter, not harder”.

“There is such a groundswell of interest that new groups are being formed all the time. We need to help ensure that we all have a good idea of what each other is doing so that, collectively, we have as big an impact as possible.”

Community Action against coal mining expansion - outside Council in Mudgee 1.30pm Friday 10 June

Date: Sun, 5 Jun 2011 21:29:21 +1000
From: bevsmiles@bigpond.com
Subject: Community Action against coal mining expansion - outside Council in Mudgee 1.30pm Friday 10 June

Please circulate this notice to your networks and contact as many people as possible to make the most of this opportunity.

Mudgee Region Community Action: Moratorium on Coal Expansion
1.30pm outside the Council building in Mudgee, Market St
Bring friends and family, banners, signs, identify your group/area/mine proposal, help make a large crowd.

The Land and Environment Court case appealing the Ulan Mine expansion is in Mudgee on Friday 10 June.

The media will be following the case. This is an opportunity to highlight the number of areas in the Shire threatened by coal mining expansion. A large crowd will show we are serious.

For more information contact Bev Smiles 0428 817 282