Temperatures over 35 degrees will halt felling of Leard State Forest

Media Release from the Leard Forest Research Node

Little lorikeet

Photo: Clive Heywood Barker

Temperatures over 35 degrees will halt the felling of Leard State Forest, under conditions imposed on the Boggabri and Maules Creek Coal mines, but community observers have extreme doubts that the condition will be observed, say members of the Leard Forest Research Node.

“The condition is there because over 35 degrees many animals are simply too stressed to flee from the destruction of their nests and habitat,” said Anna Christie of the Leard Forest Research Node, a community group established to conduct observations and scientific analysis of mine impacts at Leard Forest.

“Each mine has its own weather station and they told the Department of Planning they would not even accept eachother’s weather station readings. We fear if the temperature limit is invoked, Idemitsu Resources and Whitehaven Coal companies will start disputing the temperature and lead to a collapse in regulation of this condition.”

The community is reliant on two University of NSW weather stations, at North Avoca (Elfin Crossing) adjacent to Maules Creek, and Middle Creek, both easily accessible via the OzForecast Narrabri web page.

“We have heard that 28 ecologists are on hand to observe the felling of Leard Forest and ensure it takes place according to the conditions,” said Ms Christie. “But the community has no confidence in these consultants nor indeed any scientific information issued by Idemitsu or Whitehaven Coal.”

“Also Idemitsu has applied for planning approval to dig a new bore field at Boggabri as they claim to have only half of their water requirements. Nearly 100% error in water usage predictions really diminishes confidence in their scientific modelling.”

“Whitehaven is already being ordered by the NSW Government to remodel the Maules Creek mine noise impacts, because the original modelling has been also been found to be wildly inaccurate. We expect the Government to demand remodelling of the dust and water impacts in the near future.”

Temperatures in Maules Creek on Monday and Tuesday were over 35 degrees for extensive periods. Middle Creek weather station recorded on Monday that the temperature was over 35 deg from 12:05PM to 7:40PM and Tuesday 1:30PM to 6:20PM.

“Temperatures have dropped today, but we will be observing closely if they approach 35 degrees. We do not have confidence in the mines self-regulating this condition,” said Ms Christie.

Further comment: Anna Christie, Leard Forest Research Node, 0425 322 186