Wee Waa Website Servicing the Community Since 1998

Local News

Mining watchdog suspends Narrabri Coal's exploration licence

Northern Daily Leader - Jamieson Murphy

Kate Schwager 0 0 Article rating: No rating

THE state's mining watchdog has suspended the exploration licence of Narrabri Coal, for building unauthorised tracks in the Pilliga Forest.

The long-wall mine, which forms part of Whitehaven Coal's operations, was found to be in breach of its licence following a state-wide compliance blitz in June.

More than a dozen hollow trees, which provide important habitat to native animals, were knocked down. The unauthorised paths also failed to divert around environmentally sensitive areas.

Resources Regulator head honcho Anthony Keon said the mine's actions showed a "comprehensive failure" to follow "fundamental regulatory obligations".

"The construction of the unauthorised tracks resulted in significant environmental harm," Mr Keon said.

"Exploration activities are subject to strict conditions in order to ensure appropriate environmental protections.

Citizen science group, the Leard Forest Node, has been monitoring the mine's "progressive incursion" in to the Pilliga forest for a couple of years, spokeswoman Anna Christie said.

"This is just the tip of the iceberg, the Narrabri Coal mine has been flying under the radar for several years," Ms Christie said.

She was glad to see meaningful action taken against the mine, rather than just "a fine and a tap of the wrist".

Have your say. Click this link to send a letter to the editor

The suspension will remain in place until the mine conducts a full review of its compliance systems and can satisfy the watchdog that appropriate controls have been put in place.

Five other joint-venture partners also had their exploration licence suspended. The licence holders acknowledged the offending behaviour and offered to suspend all drilling and clearing activities.

The mine will be able to continue operating, however the suspension stops it from expanding or investigating new sites.

Whitehaven CEO Paul Flynn accepted that on this occasion the company failed to properly obverse its exploration obligations

"Based on our inquiries to date, the circumstances and communication failures that led to this outcome are unacceptable," Mr Flynn said.

"Whitehaven took immediate corrective action following the Regulator's site inspection, suspending all exploration activity and commissioning an independent audit and investigation to determine necessary corrective actions.

"The company is committed to ensuring all relevant issues are identified and addressed before exploration activities at Narrabri can resume and will continue to cooperate fully with the NSW Resources Regulator to achieve this outcome."

Coal seam gas moratorium bill put forward by NSW MLC Justin Field

Northern Daily Leader - Jamieson Murphy

Kate Schwager 0 0 Article rating: No rating

AN independent politician has put forward a bill to establish a moratorium on all coal seam gas projects in the state.

The private member's bill, introduced to the NSW upper house by MLC Justin Field, would put a halt to Santos' Narrabri Gas Project, establish no-go zones for CSG including agricultural land and introduce a public interest test for proposed developments.

Mr Field said the bill was modelled off a moratorium put forward by Labor in 2015, and was hopefully it would be widely supported.

"The Greens, Shooters, Fishers and Farmers, Animal Justice Party and Christian Democratic Party have all previously voted for, or supported, legislation or policies that endorse a moratorium on coal seam gas," Mr Field said.

"With those parties on board we can pass a coal seam gas moratorium bill through the NSW Legislative Council.

"The community have long opposed coal seam gas development in NSW and now it is time for the parliament to act."

Mr Field said the bill would renew the pressure on the government, and in particular the Nationals, who lost the seat of Barwon at the recent election to the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers, in part to CSG and water-related issues surrounding the Santos project.

"Santos have failed to address genuine concerns by the community and government agencies about their project and have breached the agreement they struck with the government in 2014," Mr Field said.

"There are significant water management and waste salt issues that have not been resolved from the company.

Have your say. Click this link to send a letter to the editor

Andrew McConville, CEO of gas industry body APPEA, said there was no reason NSW couldn't have a safe and sustainable CSG industry, like Queensland has had for more than 20 years.

"Repeated independent inquiries, including by NSW Chief Scientist, have found there are no risks associated with onshore gas development that can't be managed, mitigated or eliminated by an appropriate regulatory framework - which NSW has in place," he said.

"The answer to addressing NSW's gas needs is developing new supply - not further regulation or imposing bans on onshore gas development."

NSW pushes back on AWU criticism over backing for LNG imports

Financial Review

Kate Schwager 0 0 Article rating: No rating

AWU national secretary Daniel Walton late last week rounded on the government for granting the status of "critical state significant infrastructure" to a proposed $589 million LNG import project in Newcastlewhich will now enjoy a streamlined approvals process.

The Berejiklian government has already given the green light for a separate, $250 million LNG import terminal at Port Kembla, backed by mining billionaire Andrew Forrest.

The plans for the two import terminals are racing ahead as Santos's $3 billion Narrabri coal seam gas project, which could supply up to half NSW's gas requirements, remains locked in the state government's approvals process.

But Mr Stokes said the Narrabri project has "big potential impacts" on the environment, and that in any case the state is "best served by a competitive market with multiple sources".

 

 

LIBERAL-NATIONAL GOVERNMENT DENIES OPPORTUNITY FOR ROYAL COMMISSION INTO MURRAY-DARLING BASIN PLAN

Kate Schwager 0 311 Article rating: No rating

The Liberal-National Government has denied regional communities the opportunity for transparency, voting down a motion for a Royal Commission into the Murray-Darling Basin Plan. 

The motion introduced by the Shadow Minister for Water, Clayton Barr to Parliament last night called on the Liberal-National Government to “endorse the position of the NSW National Party Leader and Deputy Premier for a Royal Commission into the Murray Darling Basin Plan for the purpose of openness, transparency and accountability”.

The motion was defeated by three votes (47-44), with Labor and the crossbench voting for it with and The Nationals joining the Liberals to defeat it.

Barwon MP Roy Butler presents Terms of Reference for independent inquiry into water management

Kate Schwager 0 148 Article rating: No rating

Member for Barwon, Roy Butler is calling on the NSW Government to commit to an inquiry into aspects of New South Wales water management and their impacts on the Murray-Darling Basin Plan.

Mr Butler’s call for an independent inquiry comes after consultation with communities, irrigators, graziers, towns, water researchers and ecologists, all of whom raised serious concerns about government decision making in relation to water management.

“I’m calling for an inquiry to restore public confidence, and identify how certain decisions contributed to the current conditions in western NSW,” said Mr Butler. 

“I have discussed the inquiry with Minister Pavey and provided her with the draft Terms of Reference. In our conversation, I emphasised that this inquiry is needed to restore the public’s confidence in the NSW water planning and management processes.

RSS
12345

News Search