Protecting Wilderness and National Parks

Water Minister supports Environment Groups' position on water catchments

The Colong Foundation for Wilderness today has welcomed the decision by the NSW Government to greatly strengthen catchment protection in the Southern Coalfield.

“Water Minister, Phillip Costa, has advised the Foundation that “ all future mining proposals in the Southern Coalfields are being requested to amend and improve mine planning ”. This is very good news, as Peabody Pacific is pushing for a more risk taking, higher impact mining approach for its Metropolitan colliery proposal in the Woronora catchment,” said Keith Muir director of the Colong Foundation for Wilderness.

“The Government's decision will bring to an end Peabody's damaging mining practices in the Woronora drinking water catchment that badly cracked the bed of the Waratah Rivulet ”, said Mr Muir.

“Minister Costa has outlined that mining proposals must now “ meet specific natural resource outcomes, such as avoidance of streambed fracture, the inception and diversion of inflows to the Sydney Catchment Authority storages, fracturing of the geological basement underlying SCA storages, loss of flow into, or out of, all wetlands overlying the underground workings, and creating any hydraulic connections between surface and fractured hard rock ground water resources ”, he said.

“This is an important list of directions that places priority on protecting essential water resources, rather than maximizing coal yield and compromising water supply security”, Mr Muir said.

“The Colong Foundation strongly supports this move and rejects the recent remarks made by Peabody Pacific about mine closure as “emotional rhetoric#,” he said.

“We will work hard with the NSW Government to ensure these effective catchment protection prescriptions are enforced on all coal mining proposals”, Mr Muir said.

For more information contact: Keith Muir , (02) 9261 2400 (wk) or 0412 791 404 (mob)

A copy of Minister Costa's letter of March 10 th is available by fax

# Peabody Pacific Media Release 16 March “ Peabody fights Metropolitan fears”