Black Gully Music Festival 2022
10am SAT NOV 9th

Every year Armidale folk gather at Black Gully (behind NERAM) to celebrate community, music and biodiversity
Armidale Vegetable Sowing Guide
This guide shows planting time periods that should allow you to get a crop in Armidale.
Lightbulb Moments
Take control of your electrical use & costs with this Resource Guide Online PDF and Print PDF for welfare agencies to assist clients, colleagues and community.

EDO represents Maules Creek Community Council

Environmental Defenders Office (EDO) is representing the Maules Creek Community Council (MCCC) in a crucial court case about toxic air and climate pollution from the Maules Creek coal mine.

Ros Druce gave up on her vegetable garden when the Maules Creek coal mine started blasting four days a week. Her home-grown spinach, geraniums and the trees in her garden were coated in a layer of black dust from the mine seven kilometres away. “These poor plants were being virtually suffocated,” the MCCC member says.

Ros worries about her health and what long-term exposure to the mine’s pollution will do to her; she says “Even if you’ve got windows closed somehow it still seems to migrate inside. You go to pick up a book and it just feels gritty. When you’re asleep at night you obviously must be breathing in this very fine dust.”

Concerns about air and climate pollution from Whitehaven’s coal mine run deep in the community, which is why the Maules Creek Community Council is challenging an Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) review of the mine’s license in court. We’re representing MCCC in this important case, arguing on their behalf that the EPA failed to properly consider all the pollution generated by the mine.

Air pollution from coal mines contains toxic dust particles including sulphur dioxide, heavy metals and PM2.5. And it’s the pollution you can’t see that can cause the most damage. PM2.5 pollution particles are so small they can get into your lungs and into the bloodstream, and long-term exposure can cause serious lung and heart disease, cutting your life short.

“It is a huge concern, but the things is, like black lung it’s something that doesn’t show up immediately, it’s a slow insidious health issue that effects people down the line,” Ros says.

Whitehaven’s Maules Creek mine is also spewing out large amounts of climate warming methane pollution, and the community is concerned that the impact of these emissions hasn’t been properly considered by the EPA.

“The methane that comes from the mine is a really big deal; nobody wants more floods, fires, droughts the way we’ve been having,” Ros says.

In 2021, the NSW Land and Environment Court ruled that the EPA has a duty to prepare policies to ensure environmental protection from climate change.

This will be the first time an Australian court has been asked to decide the EPA’s responsibilities in reviewing the environment protection licences of coal mines and other large polluters, particularly in relation to P.M 2.5 and greenhouse gases. An environment protection licence is a licence to pollute and sets important limits on the amount of pollution a facility can emit.

“We need the compliance body – the EPA – to be there with us and to do the right thing for the people and for the environment, because after all it’s the environment protection authority. That’s what it should be doing,” Ros says.

As Australia’s largest non-profit environmental legal centre, we provide expertise and experience to people across Australia who want to use the law to defend their Culture, communities and nature.

Ros says, “we all deserve to have clean, fresh air. When you know something’s wrong, you have to try and correct it somehow. This is probably the only way, the legal way of doing things is all we have left.”

EDOEPA’s duty to regulate methane emissions to be tested in court?

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>