Australian Conservation Foundation CEO Kelly O'Shanassy.
Australian Conservation Foundation CEO Kelly O'Shanassy. Stephanie Bradford

ACF to challenge 'drug dealer's defence' of Adani

AN ENVIRONMENTAL group will launch a Federal Court challenge over the Adani Carmichael mine, dubbing the Federal Government's legal strategy the "drug dealer's defence".

The Australian Conservation Foundation is today appealing an earlier court decision that supported the government approving the mine.

The appeal process is unlikely to hold up Adani's progress but adds to the uncertainty surrounding the massive mine because of numerous legal and funding challenges.

In August 2016 the Federal Court found Federal Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg "did give consideration to greenhouse gas emissions resulting from the combustion emissions and made an express finding that the proposed action would not have an unacceptable impact" on the Great Barrier Reef.

Mr Hunt had told the court it was "not possible" to determine what impact burning Carmichael coal would have on the environment - given other coal could be burnt in its place.

The ACF will today argue the government has an obligation to take into account the impact burning the mine's coal will have on climate change.

After the previous court decision, the then Queensland Resources Council CEO Michael Roche said the ACF's defence was a "nonsense case" and an Adani spokesman said the ruling backed up the mine's "strict, science and evidence-based" approval process.

"At their core, these challenges have been about stopping investment and jobs as part of a wider activist campaign against mining," the spokesman said in a statement at the time.

ACF CEO Kelly O'Shanassy said ignoring the impact burning coal would have on the climate was not acceptable in 2017.

"Basically, the government is using the drug dealer's defence - the argument that if we don't dig up this coal and burn it, somebody else will," she said.

"This drug dealer's defence is unethical and mocks the efforts of countries that are working to reduce global climate pollution, as Australia agreed to do under the Paris Agreement.

"The Great Barrier Reef is already under enormous stress, with scientists warning the reef could be hit by coral bleaching for the second year in a row - the last thing it needs is a huge new coal mine, fuelling global warming and killing coral."

The QRC has criticised the numerous legal challenges environmental groups have lodged against Adani. The industry body has called on the State and Federal Governments to change the law to restrict court challenges against mines.


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