SDCEA & Groundwork v. Minister of Forestry, Fisheries, and the Environment
Jurisdiction: High Court
Side A: SDCEA and Groundwork (Ngo)
Side B: Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and Environment (Government)
Whether the South African government's approval of a natural gas power plant violated environmental assessment laws.
On April 8, 2021, two environmental groups filed a petition for review of South Africa's Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment’s authorization of the Richards Bay 3000MW gas-fired power plant. Plaintiffs are the South Durban Community Environmental Alliance (SDCEA) and groundWork. They allege that the Environmental Impact Assessment of the project included an inadequate assessment of its climate impacts, in that it failed to account for the full life-cycle emissions of natural gas. Plaintiffs allege that the greenhouse gas footprint of natural gas is worse than coal and oil on a climate-relevant 20-year timescale, and that alternatives like renewable energy were not given adequate consideration. They seek a court decision setting aside government approvals of the power plant.