Australian news, and some related international items

Adani coalmine: minister loses legal challenge on water pipeline assessment

Australian Conservation Foundation says case shows federal government hasn’t scrutinised Carmichael project, 
Guardian,  Lisa Cox, 12 June 19, The federal government will have to reassess water infrastructure for Adani’s Carmichael coalmine after conceding in a legal challenge that was lodged with the federal court.The Australian Conservation Foundation has succeeded in its appeal against the government’s assessment of Adani’s north Galilee water scheme, with the federal government admitting it failed to properly consider public responses to the proposal and even lost some submissions.

The new environment minister, Sussan Ley, will now have to reconsider the proposal, which would see a 100km-long pipeline constructed to transport 12.5bn litres of water a year from the Suttor river and Burdekin basin. The project would also expand an existing 2.2bn-litre dam to 10bn litres.

The government will need to reopen the project for public comment.

While the decision is a win for the environment movement in its fight against the project, it will not prevent Adani from commencing preliminary construction at the mine site if it receives approval for its groundwater plans from the Queensland government on Thursday.

But the ACF said the government’s concession in the case is a demonstration it has not properly scrutinised Adani’s plans…….

The ACF lodged the appeal last year, challenging Price’s decision not to apply the water trigger in her assessment of the water scheme.

Through the proceedings it became evident that the process leading to the minister’s approval hadn’t properly considered the more than 2,200 public submissions that had been made, with some even being lost.

As a result, the ACF amended the grounds to challenge the failure to consider those submissions and the government conceded.

The government could still face further legal challenge if it reapproves the project without applying the water trigger in its reassessment.

“The water trigger is in Australian law because water is scarce on our dry continent. It should be applied to every relevant proposal, including Adani’s plan to take billions of litres of Queensland’s precious water,” O’Shanassy said.

“ACF will continue to scrutinise all decisions around Adani’s proposal, including groundwater approvals that were rushed through on the eve of the election.”

A spokesperson for Ley said the decision had no bearing on the federal approval for the Carmichael coalmine itself…….

The outcome has some similarities to a 2015 challenge to Adani’s mine approval, which saw the then environment minister Greg Hunt’s decision to approve the mine set aside after he failed to consider advice about two threatened species, the yakka skink and the ornamental snake.

The mine was reapproved two months later.


June 13, 2019 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, legal

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