THE Environmental Defenders Office (EDO) has filed for legal action against Whitehaven Coal for allegedly failing to secure the necessary biodiversity offsets for its Maules Creek coal mine.
The action is on behalf of the South East Forest Rescue (SEFR) and claims the company failed to secure biodiversity offsets for 5,532 hectares of endangered Grassy Whitebox woodland, which the EDO claims was among the federal government's conditions applied to the project in 2013.
The EDO also claims the company had until midnight on March 31 to secure the biodiversity offsets, but failed to do so.
However, a Whitehaven spokesperson refuted the claims, saying the EDO's central claim was "factually wrong".
"The federal government granted Whitehaven an extension to register binding covenants over the 'Box Gum offsets' to 2021," the spokesperson told the Leader in a statement.
"The EDO's central claim that the company has failed to comply with the conditions of its EPBC approval is factually wrong.
"As the matter is now the subject of a legal proceeding Whitehaven we will not be making any further comment at this time."
EDO CEO David Morris said the organisation was proud to represent the SEFR in the matter.
"The recent Australian bushfires devastated threatened species and native habitat across the country," Mr Morris said.
"Protecting our unique landscapes has never been more important. That is why we are proud to represent SEFR in taking the brave step of pursuing this matter in the Federal Court."
Maules Creek farmer Ros Druce said she welcomed the action and had pushed for the offsets on behalf of the community.
"On behalf of the community, I asked Whitehaven multiple times about this at the Community Consultative Committee meetings," Ms Druce said.