The Lock the Gate Alliance has slammed as “utterly inadequate” Indian conglomerate Adani’s environmental impact assessment of its proposed 300 kilometre rail line from Queensland’s Galilee Basin to Abbot Point near Bowen on the Great Barrier Reef.
In its submission to the Queensland Coordinator General, the Alliance has demanded that the company be required to substantially revise and expand its EIS to properly assess the impacts of its North Galilee Basin Rail Project before the Coordinator General’s assessment proceeds.
The proposed coal rail line links the company’s mooted 60 million tonne per annum Carmichael mega coal mine to the highly contentious coal export Terminal 0 at Abbot Point on the Barrier Reef, for which the dredging and dumping of 3 million cubic metres of sea bed was recently approved by the Federal Environment Minister.
Key issues raised by Lock the Gate Alliance in its submission on Adani’s EIS . include:
- The EIS is extremely poor quality and requires significant revision and further work to meet statutory requirements.
- Baseline data (flora, fauna, and water and air quality) is either missing or has not been undertaken across the entire project site in a variety of seasons;
- Lack of transparency and disclosure by Adani regarding its highly adverse environmental record in India, where it has been found guilty of numerous environmental offences, and other countries;
- Inadequate justification of the need for this rail infrastructure and alignment given two other alignments already have approval and Adani’s pre-existing proposal to ship coal out of the proposed port at Dudgeon Point;
- Inadequate assessment of risk throughout the document, including from flooding, and changing climatic conditions
- Lack of risk management plans to mitigate and minimise impacts in high-risk circumstances;
- Misleading and incomplete assessment of the cumulative impacts of the project based on flawed data and methodologies.
“Adani is clearly flouting the regulations that are designed to protect our communities and environment” said spokesperson for Lock the Gate Alliance, Ellie Smith.
“This attitude is in keeping with the company’s atrocious record in dealing with community and environmental concerns in its sphere of operation in India, where it is known as an environmental vandal,
“This EIS is a travesty, a slapdash effort based on desktop studies with negligible assessment of on the ground impacts. To take but one, the proposed rail line crosses the Suttor River floodplain, a consideration which has not been adequately addressed.
“This company is clearly asking the government to approve this damaging project now, and ask questions — including around crucial modelling and monitoring of environmental impacts — later,” said Ms Smith
“The impacts on landholders directly affected by the project have not been properly considered, despite the fact that they will have to live with a rail line cutting through their properties for the rest of their lives if this goes ahead, she said.
“Further, the Queensland Government has previously committed to restricting the number of rail lines heading north to Abbot Point to one, yet this would be the third to get approval if it proceeds.
“The Government needs to fulfil its statutory obligations to protect landholders and the environment and inject some proper regulatory rigour into the assessment and approvals process for this major project.”
The full EIS submission can be downloaded here [0.5MB]