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19th July 2012: Report claims Coalpac failed needs analysis for project
media release
as a pdf
An independent review of the controversial Coalpac Consolidation Project reports that Coalpac has based its environmental assessment Project on economic benefits, and very little on social and environmental considerations, echoing sentiments from the local Cullen Bullen community and environment groups.

The report, Independent Review of the Coalpac Environmental Assessment, [report prepared for the Total Environment Centre], Institute for Sustainable Futures, UTS, Sydney, Australia was lodged with the NSW Department of Planning and Infrastructure in June 2012 by the Total Environment Centre. It states:

While alternative and more expensive coal sources for MPPS (Mount Piper Power Station) were considered for the purpose of establishing 'Project need', alternative sources of renewable energy for NSW were not.

"Coalpac has repeatedly painted false pictures for the community stating there is no alternative to energy supply should its project be rejected. The NSW Government has a 20% renewables target to reach by 2020 and it won’t get there by listening to statements from within the mining industry that claim the only alternative to coal is more coal!" says Justin McKee of the Blue Mountains Conservation Society.

"Mining companies have a habit of strutting into regional communities and talking up the benefits of their proposals to locals and not telling the entire story. Cullen Bullen residents have been exposed to a small number of direct communications from Coalpac Pty Ltd and to date, the entire picture has never been painted." The report outlines:

The Economic Assessment states that the Project would provide "ongoing stimulus to the Lithgow and Bathurst economies", but fails to provide detail on what is meant by "on-going". In contrast, the CEA (Coalpac Environmental Assessment) acknowledges that the coal mining industry cannot provide a sustained stream of jobs and income to Lithgow, the region and NSW, i.e., no long-term or ongoing benefits.

"Mining projects inject a short-term surges of unsustainable benefits for local communities. They also inject long-term problems for the health of workers and residents; severely impact the biodiversity of the local environment and places undue stress on the community and its infrastructure," says Mr. McKee. However a comprehensive assessment of costs and benefits is not made in the CEA, many costs are not valued, and the environmental and social impacts that are valued are significantly underestimated.

"Once these mining operations have ceased, so do the majority of the benefits. The damage left behind is long-term or permanent and struggling Council's are left to foot the infrastructure bill.

"Coalpac Pty Ltd has gone to extensive lengths to justify the Project need upon economic benefits but successfully disregards considerations for the negative impacts on people, the environment and the community," says Justin McKee for the Blue Mountains Conservation Society.

Here's the report

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