21 September, 2015

Sample letter to the Planning and Assessment Commission (PAC)

Ms Robyn Kruk AM
Planning Assessment Commission
GPO Box 3415
Sydney NSW 2001

Dear Ms Kruk,

Submission as an objection to proposal R033/15 - Airly Mine Extension Project

I request that the Planning Assessment Commission (the PAC) recommend refusal of consent, as Centennial Coal has not kept its promise to retain half the coal under all areas mined. If the alternative proposal to limit the damage to the 40 kilometres of cliff line to two per cent in this reserve were adopted, it would permit up to 800 metres of unacceptable cliff falls.

All the high cliffs, as well as pagodas, the Grotto, the Valley of the Kings and the historical New Hartley Oil Shale Mine of the Mugii Murum-ban State Conservation Area must be defined as sensitive heritage of special significance and fully protected from subsidence impacts.

The 2013 mining policy required resource economics to be the primary consideration in decision making processes. Under this policy, the Department of Planning and Environment’s project assessment report discounted natural and cultural heritage protection. For example, the Department has recommended ‘efficient recovery of the coal resource’ in the New Hartley mine interaction area, putting pagodas, cliffs and cultural heritage at risk of damage. Under the September 2015 policy, mining under the interaction area, high cliffs and talus slopes should be restricted to first workings. Such coal conservation thinking should not be a consideration in our climate changing world.

The Department also failed to recommend conditions which ensure the health of streams. The pit top must be placed in a ‘restricted release zone’. The Environment Protection Licence must specify and limit all pollutants discharged from this zone to ensure a neutral or beneficial effect on water chemistry and aquatic life in the downstream national parks and the World Heritage Area.

It is documented that water from Airly Creek is already polluted with suspicion pointing to runoff from mining and mining related activities.  This creek flows into Coco Creek which provides water for some of the farmers of Capertee Valley and then continues into the World heritage Area.

Water and water quality are issues for the farming community of Capertee Valley.  Aquifers under the Mugii Murum-ban State Conservation Area (SCA) could be ruptured thus reducing the flow to bores and flow in surface creeks such as Genowlan and Emu Creeks.  Both these creeks begin under the area to be mined.  The prime breeding area for the endangered Regent Honeyeater is along the Capertee River into which Genowlan Creek flows.  Farming includes beef cattle, sheep, horses,alpacas, goats and fodder crops.

Tourism is a growing industry in the Capertee Valley and any disruption could set this back.  Particularly of concern are visual impacts to the SCA, people access to the SCA and destruction of bird habitat which supports a number of endangered species such as the Regent Honeyeater and the Swift Parrot.

We wonder why Centennial Coal shut down the nearby fully functional ‘Angus Place’ mine of over 250 employees in favour of the small limited function ‘Airly’ mine using 60 miners.

Thank you for considering this submission as an objection to the Airly Mine Extension Project.

Yours sincerely,

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