Whitehaven Coal is well known for their environmental offences in and near their mines in North West NSW. The most recent fine of $30,000 issued by the EPA was for polluting a creek near the Tarrawonga mine. This was their third offence of this type in two years. In August this year they were convicted in the Land and Environment Court for 19 breaches of their approval conditions and their failure to rehabilitate drill sites.
To most businesses a $30,000 fine would be a deterrent, but to Whitehaven it’s just part of the cost of doing business. With the price of coal at $185 per tonne the maximum fines under NSW planning laws are like mozzie bites to Whitehaven. In the September quarter alone they shipped out $81 million worth of coal out of Tarrawonga.
We need the EPA to be able to issue fines that are serious deterrents that will put a stop to Whitehaven’s offending. Imagine how much it is costing the regulators to catch Whitehaven and prosecute them.
Whitehaven’s disregard for our planning laws will not stop without fines that shock them into cleaning up their act.
It’s time to email Environment Minister Matt Kean to say the planning laws must be changed to substantially increase the fines available to the EPA to stop Whitehaven and other serial offenders. Mr Kean is responsible for the work of the EPA in his role as Environment Minister. Your message can be short and to the point.
Lock the Gate media release – Whitehaven’s fine for polluting NSW river is less than mine makes in an hour