18th September – put it in your diary.
It’s the date our client’s landmark climate cases are scheduled to begin in the Federal Court, challenging Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek’s decisions not to register the climate risks our client argued accompany of two mega coal proposals.
Seems soon? That’s because it is.
The companies behind the mega coal proposals – Whitehaven and MACH Energy – have joined the proceeding and are now additional respondents in the case with Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek.
The Court has also fast-tracked the hearing.
As you’d expect, our lawyers are hard at work.
What are the cases?
Our client is challenging the Minister’s risk assessment of two projects which could see coal dug and burned from Narrabri and Mount Pleasant for another twenty years.
These are the first court challenges to a coal or gas decision made by Australia’s current Environment Minister. Our client hopes this case will make clear how our Federal Environment Ministers now and into the future are required to assess the climate risks of new coal and gas to our environment.
Strategic litigation like the Living Wonders climate cases have the potential to shape history.
Cases like this are a vital but enormous undertaking.
What is the Living Wonders legal intervention?
These two court cases are another brave step from ECoCeQ.
When EJA lawyers first submitted 19 requests and 3000 documents on ECoCeQ’s behalf to the Environment Minister last July, asking her to reconsider the climate impacts of nearly all new coal and gas proposals on thousands of our living wonders, we knew this was big.
Then, in November, the Minister accepted ECoCeQ’s requests as valid.
Public consultation windows for each proposal saw THOUSANDS of people across the continent voice their deep concerns about new coal and gas, and ask the Minister to recognise in her decisions the irrefutable science that new coal and gas poses a serious and irreversible risk of harm to our living wonders.
To ECoCeQ’s disappointment – and the dismay of many across the continent – last month, the Minister refused to accept the climate impacts of three proposals in ECoCeQ’s Living Wonders legal intervention.
This is why our client is taking Minister Plibersek to Court.
They argue Australia’s Environment Minister has a responsibility to make legally sound and rational decisions, and to act on all threats of serious or irreversible environmental damage. That includes climate damage to our environment.