Local farmers and community groups have welcomed the decision by the Queensland Department of Environment and Science (DES) to reject the Acland Stage 3 coal mine on the Darling Downs.
The decision follows a recommendation by the Land Court last year that an Environmental Authority should not be granted for the mine expansion primarily because of the impacts on groundwater, noise and intergenerational equity.
Ellie Smith from Lock the Gate Alliance said:
“This is a wonderful day for Acland farmers and residents. They ran the longest legal challenge in the history of the Land Court, and won, and we’re all relieved that decision has been respected by the department.
“The Land Court decision was so significant because it was the first time the Court had recommended outright rejection of a mining project after a contested hearing, whilst on the other hand they have recommended approval 290 times.
“The department has done the right thing and upheld the rule of law in Queensland by rejecting an Environmental Authority for this damaging mine.
“This vindicates everything local people have worked so hard to protect for the last 10 years – rich farming country, groundwater and the health and wellbeing of their families.
“They have suffered health impacts and severe mental distress as a result of the negative impacts of the existing mine and fears about the expansion.
“The important thing now is to end the uncertainty for the community and to permanently protect the Darling Downs from damaging coal mines,” she said.
New Acland Coal last year applied for a judicial review of the Land Court decision, and that is still due to be heard for five days from the 19th March 2018.