Ban needed on “Long Wall Coal” mining as well as “Coal Seam Gas” mining to protect Sydney drinking water

ABC highlights the degradation of Sydney' s water catchments from long wall coal mining.

Sydney’s water catchments have already been damaged by mining.

Councillor Scott Nash
Randwick City Council

Dear Mr Mayor

I ask your support for my intention to amend the following motion that I am listed to put to next Tuesday night’s Council meeting away from just a proposed ban on coal seam gas mining in the official Sydney Water Catchment Area to a more effective ban on all mining activity the area to protect Sydney’s drinking water.

That Council:

(a)    Calls on the NSW Government to prohibit coal seam gas mining in the Sydney Drinking Water Catchment Area via the expansion of the Mining SEPP Amendment (3 October 2013) to include the Sydney Drinking Water Catchment Area as a designated ‘exclusion zone’; and

(b)   Resolves as a matter of urgency to write to the Premier, the Hon Barry O’Farrell, the Minister for Energy & Resources, The Hon. Chris Hartcher, the Leader of the Opposition, the Hon John Robertson, and the respective representatives of the Opposition, the Greens, the Shooters & Fishers Party and the Christian Democrats, expressing the concerns and calls articulated in this motion.”

I have since become very alarmed that just restricting a ban to “coal seam gas mining” (or “CSG”) is not restrictive enough to protect Randwick (and Sydney’s)  drinking water in that it only notes the threat from one form of mining activity. I feel compelled to request your support in amending my motion at the Council meeting.

There is alarming evidence that there has already been irreversible damage done to our water catchments due to current “long wall coal mining” activity by BHP Biliton Coal in what should be a restricted area. I note the following ABC program by Quentin Dempster.

The video reports that this technique involves 300 meter wide underground long chambers separated by very narrow walls, effectively producing a 2 kilometer removal of the coal that will obviously end to produce cracking of the rock up to the surface.

This video shows frightening images of cracked stream bed rock and dried up swamps indicating redirection and loss of water flows in the Sydney catchment area, which is normally regarded as so sensitive that visitors must apply for permits to enter.

With your support, I would like to replace the wording of my proposed prohibition of my motion against “coal seam gas mining” in clause (a) with a simpler more inclusive prohibition on “mining”.

Randwick Greens Councillor Murray Matson


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