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Gray v. Minister for Planning (Land and Environment Court of New South Wales, 2006)

Jurisdiction: Australia

Side A: Gray (Individual)

Side B: Minister for Planning (Government)

Core objectives: Challenge to the adequacy of an environmental impact statement prepared for a large coal mine

This case dealt with a challenge to the Minister’s approval of an Environmental Assessment (EA) of the proposed Anvil Hill Project coal mine, which was expected to produce about 10.5 million tons of thermal coal for domestic and foreign power plants annually for 21 years. That EA considered the mine’s expected Scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas emissions, but not its Scope 3 emissions. The court declared that approval void on the grounds that it was at odds with the language of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act (NSW) 1979 and with the principles of precaution and intergenerational equity—“the environmental assessment must be broad, as a matter of law.” These, contrary to the Minister’s view, warranted consideration of Scope 3 emissions given the circumstances of the mine and the sufficient degree of evident causation between its Scope 3 emissions and adverse environmental impacts in New South Wales. It is not sufficient to simply raise the climate change issue in the EIA; the proponent of the project must attempt precise quantifications.
Case documents

from the Grantham Research Institute
from the Grantham Research Institute
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