Update, 24 Sep 2013 : The Sydney Morning Herald reports, "Mr Moylan was committed to the Supreme Court and will be appearing there on November 1."
See also: Hunter Valley food bowl plan faces urban development pressures of 1 Oct 2013, stopcsgsydney.org.au (last updated, 25 Aug); Stop CSG! Illawarra (last updated, 15 Sep). Paul Craig Roberts mentions the threat to underground water supplies as a result of fracking in the US in The Real Crisis Is Not The Government Shutdown of 2 Oct 2013.
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Context to ASIC prosecution of Jonathan Moylan
This case against Jonathan Moylan is the first time an individual has been prosecuted under s1041E of the Corporations Act.
ASIC is currently subject to a Senate Inquiry investigating its inaction in relation to prosecuting major corporate white-collar crime.
Last week, former Gunns chairman John Gay, who was prosecuted by ASIC for insider trading, received a $50,000 fine for an offence which carries a maximum penalty of $220,000 or 5 years’ jail. While ASIC praised the result, the Shareholders Association slammed the fine as “too lenient”, saying Gay “clearly profited at the expense of shareholders”, and that “where a director has pleaded guilty to insider trading we would have thought that there would have been the potential for a jail term...”.
Moylan acted on a matter of principle for no personal gain. The impact of Moylan’s action on shareholders has been exaggerated and should be seen in context. An investor who held $10,000 in Whitehaven shares and sold at the low point on the day of Moylan's action you would have lost $881 (shares fell from $3.52 to a low of $3.21 before recovering). Had the investor not acted and held their shares, at today's share price of $2.01 the investment would be worth just $5710.41, a drop of some 43%.
Cumulative Environmental Impacts
The mines will clear the largest remnant of bushland left on the Liverpool Plains, Leard State Forest, which is part of a national biodiversity hotspot.
The mines will impact on habitat for up to 396 plant and animal species and as many as 23 threatened species.
It is estimated that the mines will lead to a 5-7m drop in the water table and up to 18,000 tonnes of dust being dropped on surrounding farms each year.
Total greenhouse gas emissions from the coal produced will, when burnt, exceed 60 Mt/yr of CO2 equivalent - a total greenhouse impact greater than that of 165 individual nations, including Sweden, Hungary and Finland.
This is the context in which the Maules Ck coal mine was the subject of a media release by Jonathan Moylan which has now led to his prosecution by ASIC.