Australia’s motto: “Screw the environment!”

2 09 2015
Mmmmm! I love coal!

Mmmmm! I love coal!

An article originally posted on ALERT by April Reside (with permission to reproduce).

The Conservative Tony Abbott government in Australia is proposing alarming changes to Australia’s Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act 1999 — a remarkable move that would prevent environment groups from challenging many damaging development projects.

This has all come to a head over the Carmichael Coal Mine — a plan to build a massive mine in central Queensland in order to export 60 million of tonnes of coal to India each year.

Coal, of course, is the dirtiest of all fossil fuels, and India’s plan to burn it by the shipload for electricity is bad news for the planet.

The Abbott government is in a tizzy after after a community organization, the Mackay Conservation Group, challenged the approval of the Carmichael Mine in Australia’s Federal Court.

The community group says Environment Minister Greg Hunt didn’t properly consider the impact the mine would have on two threatened species, the yakka skink and ornamental snake.

The mine site also sustains the largest population of the southern subspecies of the black-throated Finch, which is endangered.

The implications of the mega-mine go well beyond a few imperilled species. If the mine goes ahead, it will be one of the biggest in the world — and the emissions from burning its mountains of coal would cancel out all gains made from Australia’s current emissions-reduction strategy.

On top of the frightening precedent it would set, the Abbott government appears to be double-dealing.

There was an agreement among the Environment Minister, the mine’s proponent (the Adani Group from India), and the Mackay Conservation Group that the mine’s approval should be set aside temporarily, until the conservation issues could be properly considered by the Minister. The parties agreed that the decision would be reconsidered in six to eight weeks.

But the federal government responded by attacking environmental groups opposed to the mine, calling them “vigilantes”.

And now, the government wants to wipe out the right of environmental groups to challenge decisions that violate the EPBC law — despite the fact that less than 0.4% of all resource-development projects have been halted under the EPBC Act.

All this comes amid increasing calls by Australia’s neighbouring nations for a moratorium on new coal mines to prevent dangerous climate change.

The mine continues to attract heated controversy. Building it would require a major upgrade to existing port facilities on the Queensland coast and could have negative impacts on critical wetlands, culturally important indigenous lands, and even the Great Barrier Reef.

Despite all the fuss, many believe that the mine won’t even be financially viable in the long term because of declining coal prices and India’s pledge to halt coal imports in the next few years.

This isn’t the first time the Abbott government has attacked environmental groups, and it may not be the last. It’s time to turn up the heat on the coal-loving Abbott government — by signing this petition — before it makes the world hotter for all of the rest of us.


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7 09 2015
ArabunnaClimate

Thanks for posting Corey, diamond. For those activist minded please take further direct action and make sure you get a submission into the Senate inquiry investigating the changes. Instructions on how to do so can be found by following this link http://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Senate/How_to_make_a_submission. Also, there is a good link from the Places You Love environmental coalition Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/PlacesYouLove. Submissions are due on September 11 so no time to delay! Cheers, Rob

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4 09 2015
Podargus

This sort of behaviour is par for the course for a pack of regressive fools like the present government.
And I doubt if Labor would be much better.
A pretty pickle we are in.

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2 09 2015
PradiptamohanBasu

May I share this article with my fellow members of an NGO (The Kenneth Anderson Nature Society or KANS in short) that is fighting for environment and ecology in certain parts of South India? And, also with e-groups dedicated to conservation? Thanks –

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2 09 2015
CJAB

Of course

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3 09 2015
PradiptamohanBasu

Thanks very much.

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