Court Challenge to Whitehaven Coal Mine Lost

Published: December 20, 2013

The Northern Inland Council for the Environment has expressed deep disappointment with the loss of its legal challenge against the Whitehaven Maules Ck Coal mine, and said the ruling highlighted the failures of Federal environment laws.

In a judgement handed down this afternoon, the Federal Court ruled that the approval of the Maules Ck coal mine by former Environment Minister, Tony Burke, was valid and dismissed the challenge that had been brought by the Northern Inland Council for the Environment. 

 

The Council is now reviewing the judgement and will be seeking advice on possible grounds for an appeal.

"This decision today confirms for us that our Federal environment laws are broken, and that they cannot protect farmers or the environment from reckless coal mining" said Phil Spark, spokesperson for the Northern Inland Council for the Environment. 

"In our case, the law has not even been strong enough to protect a nationally endangered forest and important koala habitat from being bulldozed for two enormous open-cut coal mines.

"Despite this decision today, there is still a huge legal cloud hanging over the Whitehaven Maules Ck coal mine, which warrants a proper public investigation.

"Independent scientists have revealed that the approval for the mine was based on false information, and the relationship between Whitehaven Coal and the National Party is under scrutiny after the company was fined recently for undeclared political donations.

"This disappointing decision today will trigger even greater community opposition to the Maules Ck coal mine, and we expect to see more and more people visiting the forest to take direct action against such an environmentally disastrous mining project.

"The Maules Ck coal mine is a risky, reckless and damaging investment that will now face determined and growing opposition from concerned citizens across the country" he said.

The Court also found in favour of the approval of the neighbouring Boggabri Coal mine which had also been challenged.

To join community action to stop the mine, take the pledge here: http://www.lockthegate.org.au/maules_creek_pledge

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