New Zealand

West Coast Ent Inc. v. Buller Coal Ltd. (Supreme Court of New Zealand 2013)

Jurisdiction: New Zealand


Side A: West Coast ENT Inc. (Corporation)


Side B: Solid Energy New Zealand Limited (Corporation)


Side B: Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society of New Zealand Incorporated (Ngo)


Side C: West Coast Regional Council, Buller District Council (Government)


Core objectives: Appeal declaration finding that indirect greenhouse gas emissions should not be considered in resource consent applications


Summary
Buller Coal Ltd and Solid Energy Ltd both applied to West Coast Regional Council and the Buller District Council for resource consents under the Resource Management Act of 1991 to mine coal for export purposes. The Environment Court had affirmed the mining companies' omission of any climate change impacts from the declaration required of them regarding their coal mining activities by the Resource Management Amendment Act of 2004. The High Court had then affirmed the Environment Court's conclusion that the end use of mined coal was irrelevant to the declaration required by the Act. The Supreme Court overturned these affirmances after concluding that the lower courts had wrongly construed the Act as precluding consideration of indirect greenhouse gas emissions in applications for resource consents. It held instead that such considerations were not just permissible but obligatory.
Case documents

from the Grantham Research Institute
from the Grantham Research Institute
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