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Mon Feb 11, 2019, 09:18 AM

Court rules out coalmine on climate change grounds in Australia

Controversial Rocky Hill coalmine in the Hunter Valley will not go ahead after a landmark ruling in the land and environment court on Friday that cited the impact it would have had on climate change. Chief judge Brian Preston dismissed an appeal by Gloucester Resources, which was seeking to overturn a New South Wales government decision to reject an open-cut mine because of its impact on the town of Gloucester, north of Newcastle.

The Environmental Defenders Office joined the case last April, arguing on behalf of its client, Groundswell Gloucester, that the mine’s detrimental impact on climate change and on the social fabric of the town should be considered as part of the merit appeal. David Morris, the chief executive of EDO NSW, called the decision “momentous” and said it would be “profoundly influential” in the approval of future fossil fuel projects.

“It’s very difficult to see how any future coal project avoids the judge’s finding about this being the wrong time for it,” he said. In his judgment, Preston explicitly cited the project’s potential impact on climate change, writing that an open-cut coalmine in the Gloucester Valley “would be in the wrong place at the wrong time”.


“Wrong place because an open cut coal mine in this scenic and cultural landscape, proximate to many people’s homes and farms, will cause significant planning, amenity, visual and social impacts,” he wrote.

“Wrong time because the GHG [greenhouse gas] emissions of the coal mine and its coal product will increase global total concentrations of GHGs at a time when what is now urgently needed, in order to meet generally agreed climate targets, is a rapid and deep decrease in GHG emissions. These dire consequences should be avoided. The project should be refused.”

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2019/feb/08/court-rules-out-hunter-valley-coalmine-climate-change-rocky-hill

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