The federal government’s approval of Adani’s Carmichael coal mine in central Queensland, which would have been one of the largest coal mines in the world and responsible for substantial greenhouse gas emissions, has been overturned in the Federal Court of Australia.
Environmental Legal Centre EDO NSW, representing the Mackay Conservation Group, challenged the approval given by the Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt to the $16.5 billion project.
EDO NSW principal solicitor Sue Higginson said the decision of the Court to set aside the Carmichael mine’s federal approval was based on a failure by the minister to have regard to conservation advices for two Federally-listed vulnerable species, the Yakka Skink and Ornamental Snake.
‘This kind of error in the decision making process is legally fatal to the Minister’s decision,’ Ms Higginson said.
‘The conservation advices were approved by the minister in April last year, and describe the threats to the survival of these threatened species, which are found only in Queensland. The law requires that the minister consider these conservation advices so that he understands the impacts of the decision that he is making on matters of National Environmental Significance, in this case the threatened species.’
‘The case also alleged that the Minister failed to consider global greenhouse emissions from the burning of the coal, and Adani’s environmental history, however these matters are left unresolved before the court.’
The mine is now without legal authority to commence construction or operate.
‘It will be up to the minister now to decide whether or not to approve the mine again, taking into account the conservation advices and any other information on the impacts of the project,’ Ms Higginson said.
Read the Court Orders here: https://www.comcourts.gov.au/file/Federal/P/NSD33/2015/3715277/event/28181487/document/607760
EDO NSW and EDO QLD have set up a climate litigation fund to assist the community when they approach us seeking to protect the environment and communities from the impacts of climate change http://www.edoclimate.org.au/.