Landmark court case to hold coal mine to account on impacts to Sydney’s drinking water catchment

A court case to protect Sydney’s drinking water catchment from the impacts of mine water discharged from Centennial Coal’s Springvale coal mine commences in the Land and Environment Court today.

9 May 2016

EDO NSW has launched the landmark legal action on behalf of community group 4nature, who says that a decision by the NSW Planning Assessment Commission (PAC) to approve an extension to the Springvale coal mine in the Blue Mountains is unlawful.

The approval will allow Centennial Coal to extract 4.5 million tonnes of coal per year for a further 13 years and discharge up to 19 million litres of mine water into the Cox’s River every day. This river runs through the Blue Mountains World Heritage Area and flows into Lake Burragorang – Sydney’s major source of drinking water.

This is the first case to test laws passed in 2009 that were introduced to protect Sydney’s drinking water catchment. 4nature will argue that, under these laws, the extension should not have been approved unless the PAC was satisfied the development would have a neutral or beneficial effect on water quality. 4nature says that there is no evidence the PAC was satisfied of this, and contends that this conclusion would be very difficult given the volumes of mine water the mine will discharge into the river system each day.

The case commences at 10am today, Monday 9 May 2016 in the Land and Environment Court, 225 Macquarie Street Sydney, and will run for two days. More background on this case can be found on EDO NSW’s website.

EDO NSW CEO/Principal Solicitor Sue Higginson will be available for interviews at Court today from 9:30am.

Media enquiries: Sue Higginson 0428 227 363 or Chris Madden (02) 9262 6989, media@edonsw.org.au