The Environment Council of Central Queensland (ECoCeQ) is calling on Federal Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek to consider, for the first time, the climate impacts of fossil fuel extraction when assessing a coal mine proposal in the NSW Hunter Valley.
ECoCeQ, represented by Environmental Justice Australia, launched a landmark legal intervention in July seeking the potentially catastrophic effects of climate change to be examined for nearly every coal and gas project pending federal approval, including MACH Energy’s Mount Pleasant mine expansion.
“Minister Plibersek has a vital responsibility to act on our reconsideration requests and to consider the catastrophic climate impact of new coal and gas proposals, such as Mount Pleasant, on thousands of animals, places and plants we love,” ECoCeQ President Christine Carlisle said.
“It’s shocking, but until now, federal environment ministers have completely ignored climate change when assessing new coal and gas proposals. It’s time for that to change.”
ECoCeQ submitted 19 requests to Minister Plibersek to consider the climate impact of each proposal on thousands of places, animals and plants protected under federal environmental law.
The Mount Pleasant proposal received approval from the NSW Independent Planning Commission on Tuesday but cannot go ahead without the green light from Minister Plibersek.
“The Mount Pleasant mine expansion alone would be responsible for The science is clear. Burning coal, gas and oil is fuelling climate breakdown, with catastrophic consequences to thousands of animals, plants, and places we love,” Ms Carlisle said.
“Tanya Plibersek has a huge responsibility. The fate of Australia’s living wonders are in her hands.”
EJA Principal Lawyer Hollie Kerwin said: “Our client’s legal intervention presented the Minister with thousands of pieces of evidence, documenting the unequivocal effects of climate change on thousands of matters of national environmental significance,”
“The requests by our client aim to ensure that, for the first time, the application of environmental law in Australia accounts for the reality of climate change.
“This is about all of it. Koalas, turtles, the reef. Cultural heritage sites of deep significance for First Nations people. All the natural wonders we want our children and their children to know and love.”