Save Groundwater and Fertile Farmland from Massive Coal Mine

Liverpool Plains farm land in Australia

Target: Greg Hunt, Australia’s Minister for the Environment

Goal: Protect rich soil and freshwater from an open-pit coal mine.

Productive farmland and a vital aquifer are in danger of pollution by a huge coal mine that has been approved to mine 10 million tons of coal a year for 30 years. The mine’s opencast pits will be located on a ridge that overlooks the country’s most fruitful black soil. This operation will destroy the land as well as provide coal to burn for energy, eventually polluting our atmosphere. We must speak up now to protect fresh water, air quality, and agricultural land.

Located in New South Wales, Australia, the Watermark Mine has been approved for operation without a proper water management strategy. The plan is to measure groundwater toxins once the mine is started and to stop operations if the water supply has been compromised. This start-and-stop method is not safe or economical. The area that lies below the mine site is known as the Liverpool Plains, commonly referred to as the food bowl of Australia. A destructive mining site should not function so closely to such a vital food supply.

The big question is if there is connectivity between the mine and the aquifer. Specialists have modelled the potential groundwater drainage but such models cannot accurately portray how the soil will react once the pits are in place. Construction of the mining pits will remove huge amounts of soil from the ridge, changing the pressure of the ridge and potentially allowing rainwater to flow freely through the pits and into the water supply. Rainwater could release and carry toxins from the pits into the aquifer that supplies water to crops and the nearby town.

This mine is owned by Shenhua, a Chinese company. All the coal mined will go to China for energy production. Australian residents will suffer so that China can pollute our atmosphere with the burning of dirty coal. By signing this petition, you are urging Australia’s Minister for the Environment to rethink his approval for the Watermark Mine for the sake of water and air quality and treasured farmland.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Minister Hunt,

Australia’s Liverpool Plains have the country’s most fertile soil. This agricultural land is a vital food supply and the Watermark Mine could put this productive area in jeopardy. Shenhua wants to have three large open pits to mine for coal on the ridge that lies above Australia’s food bowl. If you do not have stricter regulations for groundwater control and monitoring, food and water security in the area is doomed.

Once the mining pits are in place, rainwater can potentially carry toxins from the newly disturbed rock into the area’s freshwater aquifer, polluting this precious water source. Furthermore, the coal mined at this site will not benefit Australia. This dirty energy source will be burned for Chinese consumption, further destroying that country’s air quality and increasing global greenhouse gas emissions. This mine’s environmental impacts are widespread and severe. I urge you to please protect global air quality and Australia’s freshwater and agricultural land by rethinking your decision to approve the Watermark Mine.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Kate Ausburn

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2 Comments

  1. Jane Morrow says:

    Destroying a vital food production area to make a few bucks from coal is sheer lunacy. When are people going to stop selling out to the Chinese who are clearly the biggest environmental terrorists on the planet – usually reaping destruction in somebody else’s back yard. What is the Abbott government thinking – clearly they aren’t (again!).

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