End this ‘criminal’ coal mining greed

Queensland Country Life - 15.11.2010

THE Greens have called for a moratorium on coal mining projects after two more ventures won Queensland Government approval during the past week.

Speaking in Brisbane today, Greens leader Bob Brown accused the state and federal governments of greedily pushing ahead with the money-spinning projects without fully understanding the environmental and health impacts.

The state government gave conditional support for a $6 billion coal mine at Wondoan on Friday, three days after ticking off a proposal for a new coal seam gas project also in the state’s southwest.

The federal government is yet to assess the projects, which are backed by global mining giant Xstrata and Australia Pacific Liquefied National Gas, respectively.

Senator Brown said the rising number of coal mines threatened 63,000 jobs that relied on a healthy Great Barrier Reef.
Wandoan mine alone would increase Australia’s global gas emissions by 9 per cent, he said.
“It will do that in an age of global climate change,” he said in Brisbane.

Senator Brown said he wrote to federal Environment Minister Tony Burke last week calling for a national moratorium on further exploration of coal and coal seam gas.

“Until he knows what the cost is, until he knows what the loss of farmland is, until he knows what the dangers are to the water systems of the Murray Darling Basin,” Senator Brown said.

Senator-elect Larissa Waters, who will become the first Queensland Greens senator in July next year, said the state government had been too focused on receiving donations from the mining companies and the additional revenue the projects would create.

She said the fact there were so many conditions placed on the mining projects – more than 300 in the case of Wandoan – proved they were “quite risky and dangerous”.

Ms Waters said there was a lack of funding to endure the conditions would be enforced.

“So there’s real fears that the conditions are inadequate and that they won’t be properly enforced,” she said.

“The government needs to slow down.

“There are valid concerns from … all across Queensland, (people) who are worried that this state is turning into a quarry for the world’s pollution and not a source of clean energy and a source of food for us and others.”

“The Queensland government is comfortable in the processes and conditions that have been placed on these new developments,” the spokesman said.

“The government doesn’t believe a moratorium is necessary given the conditions [placed on new developments].”

Comment is being sought from Mr Burke.


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