A large proportion of the remaining undamaged Temperate Highland Peat Swamps on Sandstone exist in areas that will be subjected to longwall coal mining. Now the NSW Government has proposed a draft policy that will purchase environmental offsets for swamps, but this approach will see the swamps ruined.
The only conservation approach that works is to protect the swamps from being undermined.
The coal industry is making matters worse by seeking to pervert the draft swamp offset policy, so that environmental offsets and supplementary measures are to become the prime focus of planning approvals, not protection of these important and irreplaceable elements of our natural heritage. In other words, instead of protection from damage, the offset policy will facilitate accelerated damage and loss of swamps.
Proponents of longwall coal mining want to twist the biodiversity offset policy, ignoring that longwall coal mining was listed as a key threatened process in 2005 under the Threatened Species Conservation Act, 1995.
Some additional points you may wish to mention in your letter:
The Federal Government’s Independent Expert Scientific Committee believes that there is a high risk of potentially severe subsidence impacts to swamps being undermined. The Committee believes that the only known strategy to minimise impacts to [upland swamps] is to alter the mine layout such that swamps are not undermined by longwall mining.
The proposal to offset the upland swamps damaged by coal mining is a perversion of the protection that should be given to this irreplacable part of our national heritage. Conscience money does not compensate for the loss of our nation's heritage. The draft swamp offset policy insults the very idea of Matters of National Environmental Significance that seeks to protect the best and most treasured items in the country.
Write a letter to the editor: writing to a newspaper is one of the most effective ways to spread the word and boost support for swamp protection.