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Media Releases · Energy & Climate

Federal Court dismisses Adani climate change concerns

29 August, 2016

The Federal Court has dismissed climate concerns surrounding Adani’s Carmichael coal mine and found the Government’s decision to approve the controversial project to be lawful.

Australian Conservation Foundation, represented by EDO Qld, challenged the lawfulness of former Environment Minister Greg Hunt’s decision to issue an environmental approval for the project, which would be one of the world’s biggest polluting coal projects, during a two-day judicial review in May 2016.

EDO Qld solicitor Sean Ryan said: “Our question was whether Australia’s federal environmental laws protected our Great Barrier Reef from its most serious threat - climate change.

"The Court accepted that the Environment Minister concluded that the combustion emissions from the burning of coal from the Carmichael mine would have no relevant impact on the Great Barrier Reef.

“We were honoured to represent one of  Australia’s peak environment groups in testing whether our national environmental protection laws protect our Great Barrier Reef from its greatest threat - climate change.”

“While the outcome is disappointing, it is crucial that Australians have the opportunity to question, in an independent court of law, the lawfulness of government decisions surrounding a mine project whose damaging impacts will affect us all.

“We will thoroughly consider the decision and advise our client as to their legal options.”

Background: Australian Conservation Foundation Incorporated v Minister for the Environment [2016] FCA 1042

ACF first sought the independent judicial review in the Federal Court on 9 November 2015 after the Federal Environment Minister re-issued the environmental approval for Adani’s Carmichael project on 14 October 2015. This followed a Federal Court decision on 6 August 2015 to set aside the Minister’s first approval of the project (granted on 28 July 2014) after he failed to consider conservation advice on vulnerable species. The judicial review ran for two days from 3 to 4 May 2016.

Environmental Defenders Office Queensland (EDO Qld) gives a strong legal voice to the environment when needed most.

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