Wildlife Preservation Society of Queensland Proserpine/Whitsundry Branch Inc. v. Minister for the Environment & Heritage (Federal Court of Australia, 2006)
Side A: Wildlife Preservation Society of Queensland, Whitsundry Branch Inc.
Side B: Minister for the Environment & Heritage
Challenge to federal agency failure to require an environmental impact assessment for a coal mine proposal
An Australian federal court upheld a federal agency decision to not require an environmental impact assessment (EIA) for a coal mine proposal under the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act). Environmental groups argued that the burning of coal harvested from the mines would contribute to global warming, which could have substantial adverse impacts on the ecosystems of world heritage areas like the Great Barrier Reef, triggering the EIA requirement under the EPBC Act. The Court held that the greenhouse gas emissions from the mining and burning of coal had been considered by the agency in its decision not to require an environmental impact statement. The judge was not persuaded that there is a casual link between coal mining activities and damage to ecosystems.