Opinion: Miners must appeal anti-coal landmark court decision – by Matthew Stevens (Australian Financial Review – February 10, 2019)


You have to admire the collective against coal mining. It sure does know when and how to pick its fights. On Friday, the NSW Land and Environment Court rejected an application by Gloucester Resources to build a three-pit coking coal mine near the central NSW town that named the company.

Left to stand, the decision by Judge Brian Preston would seem to establish precedent because it moves all three categories of carbon emissions to the front and centre of the state’s planning approval process.

This has not so far been the case in NSW or anywhere else in Australia, for that matter, a fact made plain by the victory celebrations that Judge Preston’s odd decision triggered among his fans, old and new, in the climate change lobby.

What makes Preston’s ruling so intriguing is that the addition of carbon emissions to the court’s triggers for rejection was utterly unnecessary. As he made plain, the Gloucester proposal had already failed the more typical public interest criteria of Preston’s court, just as it had failed those same tests by the NSW Planning Assessment Commission (PAC).

This was Gloucester Resources’ second tilt at securing approval for its comparatively inconsequential Rocky Hill Project. The company’s original application for regulatory sign-off was less comprehensively unsuccessful.

For the rest of this article: https://www.afr.com/business/miners-must-appeal-anticoal-landmark-court-decision-20190210-h1b2vr

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