The Nature Conservation Council of NSW has today welcomed indications the NSW Land and Environment Court will set a national precedent by requiring the Xstrata‐owned Ulan coal mine to offset its greenhouse gas emissions as a condition of approval for expansion.
Approval has 'in principle' been granted by the Court to the Ulan mine expansion subject to a number of
more stringent environmental conditions, including that it offsets greenhouse emissions related to the
production and transport of its coal (scope 1 and 2 emissions).
“As Australia begins its transition towards a low‐carbon economy, it’s fitting the Land and Environment
Court has for the first time recognised that coal mines should take responsibility for the millions of tonnes
of greenhouse gas pollution they produce each year,” Nature Conservation Council of NSW CEO Pepe
Clarke said today.
“The precedent set by requiring Xstrata to offset the production and transport emissions from its Ulan coal mine puts the fossil fuel industry firmly on notice. Coal mining activities have a significant impact on the health of our community and environment, and the era of ‘free’ pollution is over.
“The Ulan mine expansion will need to offset 23.5 million tonnes of greenhouse emissions each year,
increasing NSW’s contribution to global emissions by 0.8% per year.
“But we mustn’t forget that Ulan is not the only coal mine project in the planning pipeline.
“As other operating coal mines seek to expand or modify operations, we call on all state governments to
ensure strict offset arrangements become standard approval conditions so operators pay their fair share
for mitigating the impact of their carbon pollution.
“Offsets for climate change impacts from coal mines are a significant reform, but it is only a first step
towards our ambition of a clean energy economy for the future,” Mr Clarke said.
The NSW Land and Environment Court has invited further submissions from the parties on some
conditions, before it makes a final determination on all conditions.
Legal action against the Ulan coal mine expansion was brought by the NSW Environmental Defender’s
Office on behalf of NCC member group the Hunter Environment Lobby.
Read the full determination here: http://bit.ly/vRMpwI.