On behalf of the Mackay Conservation Group (MCG), EDO NSW is challenging the Federal Government’s approval of the Carmichael coal mine in central Queensland, which would be one of the largest coal mines in the world.
MCG’s claim alleges that Federal Environment Minister, Greg Hunt, failed to properly consider the impact of the Carmichael mine on the Great Barrier Reef, when he approved the project by Indian company, Adani Group, in July last year.
Given that climate change is the greatest threat to the survival of the Reef, Mackay Conservation Group says that the Minister should have considered greenhouse gas emissions arising from the burning of the coal by Adani in India, not just the emissions from mining the coal.
MCG says that under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999, the Minister unlawfully limited his consideration of greenhouse gas emissions from the mine to those that are reportable under the under the National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting Act 2007 Act, which covers only emissions from mine operations.
However, emissions from the burning of the coal once it is exported to India will by far eclipse any emissions generated in Australia by the mining process itself.
An amended claim also alleges that the Minister failed to properly consider Adani’s poor environmental record in India before approving the mine.
In 2013 the Indian government found Adani guilty of serious breaches of Indian environmental law, including illegally clearing mangroves and destroying tidal creeks.
Indian Courts had also found in 2012 that infrastructure associated with the Adani’s port in Mundra had been built without environmental approvals.
In the amended claim, our client says that the Minister ignored that evidence, instead relying on an earlier statement made by Adani in 2010 that it has a good environmental record overseas.
The case is due to be heard on 10-11 August 2014.
In a separate legal challenge the community group Land Services of Coast and Country has launched proceedings against Adani’s Carmichael Coal Mine in the Queensland Land Court on the grounds of climate change, groundwater impacts and protection of the threatened Black-throated Finch. The case will be heard in March. Click here for more information.