Clearing of Leard Forest for Open Cut Coal Mine Stops

12 June 2014

Whitehaven Coal today has halted its winter clearing operations at the Leard State Forest for its new open cut coal mine, in north-western NSW, following legal action by the Maules Creek Community Council.

The Maules Creek Community Council, represented by environmental law experts, EDO NSW, sought an interim injunction in the NSW Land and Environment Court, to immediately stop the clearing during winter when animals, including threatened species, are hibernating in the forest.

A judgment in the case was expected at 4pm today after a hearing on Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday. However, Whitehaven instead has given an undertaking to the Court that it will halt the clearing until a decision is handed down after a full hearing on the matter, which will begin on September 2.

The Maules Creek Community Council is arguing that Whitehaven is in breach of its development consent by winter clearing of the forest. A breach of development consent contravenes the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979.

The new Maules Creek coal mine project involves a total clearing of 1664 hectares of forest which provide habitat for threatened species including bats, koalas, forest owls, the Swift Parrot and the Regent Honeyeater.

Further information contact: EDO NSW Jon Walter 0404 647 842; Maules Creek Community Council, Phil Laird 0428 712 622