Government undecided on Maules Ck, court hearing delayed

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Media Release 11th September 2014

The NSW Government has indicated it has not yet made a decision on whether to approve or reject the revised Biodiversity Management Plan (BMP) for the Maules Creek Coal Mine.

The newly revised plan was provided by Whitehaven Coal to the Dept of Planning and Environment (DoPE) on the 27th of August 2014 after legal proceedings had commenced.

“We agree that the NSW Government needs more time to properly assess the revised Biodiversity Management Plan, which had been sought by Whitehaven Coal for the Maules Creek Coal Project. The Maules Creek Community Council believes that this plan does not protect the threatened species which the plan is designed to do” said Phil Laird, spokesperson for the Maules Creek Community Council.

“The revised plan is inconsistent as it aims to start clearing the Leard state Forest in November when young native animals are likely to be slaughtered in their nests.

Whitehaven is asking the Department for a one off “exception” to allow the miner to commence clearing the Leard State Forest outside their normal clearing window without showing the environmental benefits of such an exception.

“The question is: Why is the miner applying for, and the DoPE considering, allowing clearing in spring for this year, when they accept that in the future it is not acceptable to clear at that time? Is the NSW Government changing the rules to allow unnecessary harm to threatened species to suit a coal mining company?

“We’re now calling on the NSW Government to go a step further and provide a guarantee they will not approve a revised plan that will result in unnecessary animal deaths until the full legal challenge has been heard and a judgement handed down.

The matter is set down for further mention on the 10th October 2014.