Protecting Wilderness and National Parks

Protect Gardens of Stone forever – declare Ben Bullen State Forest a conservation area

Lithgow Environment Group
The Colong Foundation for Wilderness
Blue Mountains Conservation Society
Nature Conservation Council of NSW

Protect Gardens of Stone forever – declare Ben Bullen State Forest a conservation area

Conservation groups are calling on the government to declare Ben Bullen State Forest a conservation area after the Planning Assessment Commission rejected Coalpac’s plans for an open–cut coal mine near Cullen Bullen in the state’s Central West for a second time.

The Planning Assessment Commission rejected Coalpac’s proposal to destroy more than 300 hectares of stone pagoda formations and forest because of “unacceptable risks and impacts, and only limited short term benefits”. [1]

“This is a victory for common sense, conservation and local communities who have fought these proposals every step of the way,” said Colong Foundation for Wilderness Director Keith Muir.

More than 800 public submissions opposing the mine were received during the consultation period. Community submissions raised concerns about health impacts from dust pollution, impacts on threatened species, and destruction of unique geological features.

“This is the final nail in the coffin for a project that should never have been on the table. The logical next step is for the area to be protected,” said Blue Mountains Conservation Society Vice-President Tara Cameron.

The PAC’s recommendation followed a finding by an earlier PAC that the mine would have unacceptable environmental impacts.

“This decision will assist to protect this stunning landscape. This area could become an iconic tourist destination right next door to the Blue Mountains,” said Lithgow Environment Group president Dr Richard Stiles.

“An open-cut coal mine would have ruined a very large part of the Ben Bullen State Forest and seriously compromised the area’s tourist appeal.

“Some, but not all, sectors of the local mining community would have liked to see this proposal approved, however, it is pleasing to see that the PAC could assess that the adverse impacts of this proposal far outweigh the benefits.”

“The commission rejected the open-cut coal mining because of the unacceptable risks it poses to our environment and recommended that the area is best used for conservation. Protecting the forest as a state conservation area would be a great gift for the people of NSW”, said Nature Conservation Council of NSW Campaigns Director Daisy Barham

MEDIA CONTACTS

Colong Foundation for Wilderness – Director Keith Muir, (02) 9261 2400 or 0412 791 404

Blue Mountains Conservation Society - Tara Cameron, 0419 824 8974

Lithgow Environment Group – President Dr Richard Stiles, 0427 525484

Nature Conservation Council of NSW – James Tremain 0419 272 254