The NSW Planning Department must reject the application to double production of the Mount Pleasant open-cut coal mine near Muswellbrook because it will have unacceptable health and climate impacts. 
“With three mines basically on the edge of town, people who live in Muswellbrook are already choking on coal dust and some of the worse air quality in Australia,” Nature Conservation Council Chief Executive Chris Gambian said.
“Dust from coal mining is the leading cause of very high rates of respiratory disease in the town.
“Air quality in Muswellbrook has breached the national standards for fine particles (PM2.5) every year since the standard was introduced. 
“Muswellbrook locals need clean air, not more coal. This project will not only be bad for people’s health, it will be bad for the climate.
“Coal is stoking the fires of climate change, which is a threat to our way of life, to our native plants and animals, and to our economy.
“We need to be planning for the future, not living in the past. We should be investing in our clean, renewable energy future, not opening or expanding coals mines.
“The bushfire season last year that wiped out a third of our koalas and killed possibly billions of native animals was made more extreme by climate change.
“We cannot afford to stoke the fires of climate change any more.
The Hunter desperately needs a plan for the jobs and economic growth of the future.
“Propping up the coal industry as the world moves away from coal is a betrayal of the next generation of Australians who need us to be planning for their prosperity now.
“We know all too well that the mining industry will shut mines down when they don’t make money. What happens then?
“The aggressively pro-coal agenda being pushed by the likes of Hunter MP Joel Fitzgibbon is shortsighted and dangerous.”
Other mines close to Muswellbrook are Mt Arthur and Bengalla.
 Mount Pleasant Optimisation Project, NSW Planning Department
 See for example NSW Annual Air Quality Statement 2018, pp17-18