Hunter legal action against Ashton Coal mine

PUBLIC donations will help fund a legal challenge by the Hunter Environment Lobby against Ashton Coal’s mine expansion that threatens the future of the village of Camberwell, near Singleton.

Spokeswoman Jan Davis said legal action was the only option left for Camberwell residents.

‘‘It’s bigger than Camberwell, it is about the whole Hunter Valley,’’ Ms Davis said. 

In a reversal of its original decision, the Planning Assessment Commission approved the $83 million, south east open-cut mine in October last year.

“This will have a devastating impact on the local community and environment if it is allowed to progress and we intend to fight until we have exhausted all avenues,” Ms Davis said. 

She said the effects of the mine expansion on human health and the streams and aquifers that fed into the Hunter River were ‘‘unacceptable’’.

‘‘This proposal was approved in October last year despite the continuing opposition of the NSW Health.

‘‘NSW Health recognised that Camberwell village was already seriously affected by the dust and noise from three surrounding open-cut operations,’’ she said.

Ms Davis said the organisation would be represented by the NSW EDO.

The environmental defenders office is also representing residents of Bulga and Milbrodale in their legal challenge to Coal and Allied’s Mount Thorley Warkworth extension.

Ms Davis said coalmining in the Hunter Valley had reached capacity.

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