Contributed from New South Wales
Imagine, a coal company admits it has put in the wrong figures in its application for a new mine extension. Centennial Coal has done this over its Springvale mine near Lithgow in New South Wales.
In its submission to Department of Planning, the company had said that it’s plan would only produce 80 kilograms of carbon dioxide per tonne of output. It turns out that this amount was underestimation by 30 times. It will actually produce 2,400 kilograms per tonne. The gap is so big that there is no way to hide it.
No explanation has been given to as to how this could happen. Spokesperson Katie Brassil blamed the consultants. This is not a one-off operation. Centennial runs other mines. One would expect they know what they are doing.
An even bigger question is, how could it get through the body that is supposed to be the authority that makes sure Australia’s pollution laws are observed?
It was the Nature Conservation Council, which found the error and brought it to public attention. Chris Gambian, the council’s Chief Executive said.
“This is why the government should change the rules around environmental assessment, so the government appoints independent, competent consultants to do this critical work.”
Lock the Gate, which has been campaigning against coal seam gas, and in Gloucester, against the proposed Rocky Hill mine as well, has gone further. It has called for an overhaul of the rules and greater effort at enforcement, pointing out, that the submission of false figures is a criminal offense, which should be dealt with accordingly.
Centennial Coal has apparently been asked for clarification by the Department, although it says there is no need for a review. Mining companies obviously have an easy time of it in New South Wales