Coal and Gas Mining News- DEA action in March

Polluted water at Bowen Basin coal mine. Photo credit: Lock the Gate Alliance

The proposed mining of coal in Queensland is a matter of national and international concern, demanding condemnation from Australian leaders at least of the magnitude of that they expended on sandpaper and a cricket ball. On a week that the UK banned development of a coal mine because of greenhouse emissions, Queensland quietly revived the proposal for a vast dormant mine approval at Wilton, North Queensland.

The Wilton mine
Coal production from the proposed Wilton and existing Bowen Basin mines would far exceed that of Adani over the next 20-30 years.
DEA will develop a team to document the harms from the proposed mine.

Mine delay means emissions saved and the good news is that Adani has been delayed further.

Callide Mine expansion (near Rockhampton)
There is an application for a water licence which would allow the mine to go ahead. DEA is consulting with EDO Queensland to see if we could help by making a submission.

NSW; the Wambo mine extension
In the March newsletter we reported that John van der Kallen presented at the Planning Assessment Commission (PAC) on the Wambo mine extension. It is gratifying to report that the mine extension has not been approved by the Planning Commission. John reports “there are multiple new requirements for the proponents including much of what I presented including air quality concerns, physiological impacts and intergenerational equity. They also mention the new NEPM air quality standards and as well as the requirements for the Paris agreement. It remains to be seen whether the government approves the extension under these circumstances.”
Download John’s presentation to the Commission.
See also the Newcastle Herald Report.

Shenhua coal mine, Liverpool Plains
If ever there was a watertight case for rejection of a coal mine which threatened prime agricultural land, this was it. However it appears that the NSW government may have been involved in some irregularities over the agreed cancellation of the licence. Read more here.

WA Conventional Gas News
(Thank you to CCWA for this update)
“We’re becoming increasingly concerned about WA’s biggest polluters - Chevron and Woodside’s giant LNG projects. With no effective controls on their emissions they are releasing tens of millions of tonnes of carbon pollution each year. In fact, nearly a third of WA’s total pollution will come from just three giant LNG facilities by the time they reach full production in the near future.

To see how ineffective the Turnbull Government’s climate change policy is, we need to look no further than Chevron’s LNG operations here in WA. Recently Chevron was granted a permit by the Commonwealth government allowing far more pollution than even Chevron claimed was necessary. This permit gives a free pass for Chevron to breach its own commitments, and ignore requirements by the State Government.

While individuals and households are taking action, these huge corporate polluters are simply profiting from a sham Commonwealth policy which does nothing to make them clean up their act. This means that the State Government must step in to control pollution from these giant facilities, and WA Environment Minister Stephen Dawson has initiated a review by the EPA into the problem.”

Fracking in WA
Currently there is a moratorium pending an inquiry report to which DEA submitted.

The announcement of an international gas hub for WA has raised concern that the ground is being prepared for the Inquiry to permit unconventional gas development.

A research report from Climate Analytics: Western Australia's Gas Gamble - Implications of natural gas extraction in WA, demonstrates the domestic carbon footprint from Western Australia’s unconventional gas resources is about three times what Australia is allowed to emit in order to comply with the Paris Agreement. The carbon footprint of Canning Basin (Kimberly region) resources alone is equivalent to about double this budget.

NT Fracking inquiry report released on 27th March
The Report reported the overwhelming public opposition to fracking and its diverse risks. However these could be mitigated.

Key recommendations: 

  1. Government must accept and implement all recommendations 
  2. Unless GHGs can be completely offset, then there should be no fracking. 
  3. Baseline monitoring of methane levels for 6 months prior to any exploration.

Clearly the outcome is now up to the government, who have invested heavily in this Inquiry. But clearly we must have great concerns for the outcome, and we note that over 30 top Australian climate scientists and doctors, including a Nobel Laureate, signed an open letter highlighting the climate change threat from shale gas fracking in the Territory.

Fracking in SA
An important outcome of the election of the Liberal government election in SA is that they promised to ban fracking in the state’s prime farming and wine areas. Nevertheless there must be concern that they submit to the demands of their federal colleagues.


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