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NSW coalmine polluting Sydney’s drinking water is approved by gov

‘vital for energy security and affordability’

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robert99 robert99 Sweden Posts: 1360
1 9 Oct 2017

The New South Wales government will introduce legislation to approve an underground coalmine that was blocked by the courts because it was polluting Sydney’s drinking water.

On Monday the state’s energy minister, Don Harwin, announced the government would overturn a decision by the NSW court of appeal to block the extension of the Springvale colliery.

The mine, owned by Centennial Coal, is the sole supplier to Lithgow’s Mount Piper power station, which provides about 10% of NSW’s electricity.

On Monday Harwin said the mine was “vital for energy security and affordability”.

“My top priority as energy minister is to ensure NSW households and business have an affordable, secure and reliable energy supply – this decision supports that,” he said.

The legislation, which is expected to be introduced to the parliament this week, will change the NSW Environmental Planning and Assessment Act to “clarify” that “projects in the Sydney water catchment seeking to expand must maintain or improve water quality compared to their existing consent”.

It will also specifically validate the Springvale mine’s state significant development consent.

The government’s planning minister, Anthony Roberts, said the legislation would “support the construction of a water treatment plant” which he said would eliminate saline discharges.

“This new treatment plant will see zero mine water discharge into the Coxs river, is supported by the EPA and WaterNSW and has separately been approved by the independent Planning Assessment Commission,” he said.

In August the court of appeal determined that the mine was polluting Sydney’s drinking water and therefore operating on an invalid licence.

After a challenge by environment group 4nature, the court found the commission had erred in approving the licence because it involved discharging polluted water into Sydney’s drinking catchment.

see also

The NSW government will move to weaken laws protecting Sydney's water catchment to circumvent a court's ruling that threatened fuel supplies to the state's newest coal-fired power station.

Opponents of the move called the plan "reckless" and an "offence to the rule of law".