“Without the hearing before the Land Court, the inadequacy of the project’s groundwater impact assessment would not have been exposed"
EDO Qld is the legal representation for community group Coast and Country Association of Queensland (CCAQ) who recently lodged an appeal to the proposed Alpha coal mine project in the Queensland Court of Appeal.
Lodged on 2 October 2015, the appeal relates to the production of greenhouse gas emissions from the burning of coal (‘scope 3’ emissions) as a result of the GVK Hancock project in Queensland’s Galilee Basin.
EDO Qld Acting Principal Solicitor Andrew Kwan said the appeal would be an important test case for Queensland.
“The issue of ‘scope 3’ emissions on major projects has not otherwise been considered in any other case by a Queensland Court with binding authority,” Mr Kwan said, adding the hearing would “consider the definition of ‘environmental harm’ in Queensland’s Environmental Protection Act 1994”.
“Despite refusing CCAQ’s applications to set aside the Land Court recommendation, on 4 September 2015 the Supreme Court confirmed emissions from the burning of coal were relevant in the assessment of coal mines in Queensland.
“However, the Supreme Court also ruled that it was open to decision makers to give no weight to the impacts caused by scope 3 emissions, on the basis the impacts would be caused in any case by coal from another mine.”
On 8 April 2014, Queensland’s Land Court found the evidence on groundwater impacts to be unsatisfactory and recommended GVK Hancock’s Alpha project either be outright refused an environmental authority and mining lease, or approved subject to additional groundwater conditions.
“Without the hearing before the Land Court, the inadequacy of the project’s groundwater impact assessment would not have been exposed, which could have had even greater consequences for the livelihoods of the area’s farmers than those already predicted,” Mr Kwan said.
“As always, EDO Qld and our client will strive for a just and efficient process in pursuing this appeal in the public interest.”
Media contact – Jolee Wakefield, firstname.lastname@example.org