The decision made by the NSW Department of Planning to deny Whitehaven Coal a special permit to clear for the Maules Creek coal mine during the sensitive spring/early summer months has vindicated community concerns of its environmental impact, according to activist group Lock the Gate.
Lock the GatenNational coordinator Phil Laird said the stop work was a small victory in the long running-battle.
‘This now means that Whitehaven cannot clear any more forest at Maules Creek until mid February 2015,’ Mr Laird said.
‘The decision shows that the community was right in taking court action to prevent Whitehaven from clearing during the highly sensitive spring/early summer months when threatened forest animals are nesting or breeding.
‘The Maules Creek mine sits in an area known is critically endangered bushland and the attempt to get a clearing permit during the spring/early summer months was inappropriate and unacceptable.
‘It is a pity that it took the community to enforce what should have been a basic safeguard.
‘Whitehaven had secretly sought to get the extraordinary clearing permit in order to push ahead with its plans to develop the largest new coal mine in Australia.
‘We congratulate the secretary for planning Carolyn McNally for her decision to put the brakes on this clearing plan and we congratulate planning minister Pru Goward for standing up against the might of Whitehaven and enforcing the ban on spring/early summer clearing.’