THE black and yellow regent honeyeater seems an innocuous bird on first glimpse.
The federal Department of Environment and Energy lists the critically endangered bird's total known population at between 800 and 2000 but habitat destruction remains a threat.
One area the bird's habitat has remained in place is the Hunter Economic Zone.
In 2016, the NSW Land and Environment Court ruled Cessnock City Council had no legal power to approve the development Hunter Economic Zone without first conducting a species impact statement on the endangered bird.
The court ruled that because the proposed development would require clearing the habitat of the regent honeyeater, it would have a significant impact on the bird’s survival.
The Hunter Economic Zone estate, a concept that arrived in the 1990s as major employers including BHP and Pasminco prepared to shut their doors, never quite took flight.
Looking back in 2017, mayor Bob Pynsent described its fate as something of a white elephant as "frustrating".
On Wednesday, Cr Pynsent found himself discussing the site again after Sydney businessman Frank Cavasinni briefed the city's leaders on a proposal to build two "ultra super critical" 1000-megawatt coal-fired power stations on the site.
Cr Pynsent said the plan was "left-field", but conceded its fate will rest with the state's planners.
Hours after an announcement from one of the three firms involved in the plan, Kaisun Holdings, the Nature Conservation Council was calling for both the state's potential premiers to categorically block it.
The other two firms involved include a Parramatta-based business and a subsidiary of a Chinese state-owned power firm.
Intervention by either Ms Berejiklian or Mr Daley may be unnecessary.
While it is early days for the proposal, and it is unlikely to have been proposed without due diligence, the site's ecological value and fragility are unlikely to be less disturbed by the clearing and construction required to deliver coal-fired power generation on par with Liddell's output.
That will be a matter for the state's planners to ponder as it progresses, if it progresses.
A NSW Planning spokesman said on Wednesday no application had been lodged.
Whether the project ultimately takes wing or goes the same way as the site's last grand plan, we can only wait to see.