Coal mine ban bill tabled

NO MORE COAL: Jeremy Buckingham says continuing to mine coal in NSW is incompatible with addressing climate change. Photo: Gareth Gardner 210815GGB16ENVIRONMENTALISTS have applauded a billto ban new coal mines in NSW, but the resource industry has unanimously panned the move, saying it would cause economic hardship in regional areas.
Nanjing Night Net

Greens energy and resource spokesman Jeremy Buckingham introduced the legislation to the NSW Legislative Council, which if enacted, would prohibit the approval of any new coal mines or coal mine expansions –including the Shenhua Watermark mine on the Liverpool Plains.

It’s the first time a bill to ban new coal mines has been introduced to an Australian parliament.

Mr Buckingham said governments had made excuses for too long, while the coal industry rapidly expanded.

“It’s not the Greens who say we must rapidly phase out coal, it is the science,” Mr Buckingham said.

“The science says that 95 per centof NSW’s coal must stay in the ground if we are to have a 50 per centchance of avoiding two degrees of global warming.

“For the sake of the climate we must deal with coal and the first step is to ban new coal mines and mine expansions, and then to implement a transition strategy to shift from coal to renewable energy and diversify regional economies.”

In NSW there are applications to mine anadditional 1.8 billion tonnes ofcoal.

NSW Minerals Council chief executive Stephen Galilee said the state and its regional areas would suffer if new coal mines were banned.

“Mr Buckingham’s bill is a recipe for economic catastrophe that would cost tens of thousands of jobs and plunge NSW into deep recession,” Mr Galilee said.

A spokesmanfor Resource Minister Anthony Roberts said the government was committed to its new Strategic Release Framework for all future coal or gas exploration licences.

“This will ensure any proposed exploration area undergoes an economic, social and environmental assessment, with community consultation conducted upfront, before a proposed area is released for expressions of interest,” he said.

“This builds on our responsible management of the resources sector, placing downward pressure on energy costs and supporting employment and regional communities across the state. These are responsibilities the Greens have never cared about in the past and clearly nothing has changed.”

Mr Buckingham hoped the bill would provoke a debate about the future of coal and climate change.

“[Labor also] needs tohave the hard conversations and an internal debate about the future of thermal coal mining in a climate constrained world.”The bill is expected to be debated and voted on, in November.

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