The NSW government wants to stop planning authorities considering overseas greenhouse gas emissions when examining local mining projects, in a move environmentalists have dubbed "reckless and irresponsible"
Deputy Premier John Barilaro on Tuesday said proposed legislation and changes to the state environmental planning policy would "clarify concerns" around the export of coal.
The plan includes amending the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act to prohibit approval conditions relating to so-called "downstream emissions".
The push comes after the Independent Planning Commission in August imposed overseas emissions conditions on its approval of the United Wambo coal project near Singleton.
The commission in 2017 rejected the nearby Rocky Hill project with a judge subsequently stating the coalmine would increase global greenhouse gas emissions at a time when a "rapid and deep decrease" was required.
Mr Barilaro on Tuesday said the mining sector was a major employer in regional NSW which drove investment opportunities and created jobs.
"These changes will help restore NSW law and policy to the situation that existed prior to the Rocky Hill decision and will provide the mining sector with greater certainty," he said in a statement.
Mr Barilaro noted the NSW government had no way of enforcing conditions relating to developments outside Australia and so had "moved quickly to resolve the issue".
But the Nature Conservation Council condemned the coalition for moving to ban planning authorities from considering the full impact of coal and gas projects.
"The state government has cravenly capitulated to pressure from the Minerals Council, raising serious questions about who controls planning policy in NSW," council chief executive Chris Gambian said in a statement on Tuesday.
"It is reckless and irresponsible to gut this policy when dangerous climate change is on our doorstep with fish kills and more extreme heatwaves and bushfires every summer."
The Climate Council said it was "outrageous" the government was allowing coal corporations to run the show.
"We need to ask hard questions about the power of the coal mining lobby to advance its interests at the expense of the community," council researcher Tim Baxter said in a statement.
The Minerals Council said the government's plan was "a positive step to protect jobs and investment in regional NSW and strengthen the NSW economy".
Australian Associated Press