The controversial Rocky Hill coalmine in the Hunter Valley will not go ahead after a landmark ruling in the land and environment court on Friday that cited the impact it would have had on climate change.
Chief justice Brian Preston dismissed an appeal by Gloucester Resources, which was seeking to overturn a NSW Government decision to reject an open-cut mine because of its impact on the town of Gloucester, north of Newcastle.
Last April the Environmental Defenders Office of NSW joined the case, arguing on behalf of its client Groundswell Gloucester that the mine’s detrimental impact on climate change and on the social fabric of the town should be considered as part of the merit appeal.
In his judgment, Preston explicitly cited the project’s potential impact on climate change, writing that an open cut coalmine in the Gloucester valley “would be in the wrong place at the wrong time”.
“Wrong place because an open cut coal mine in this scenic and cultural landscape, proximate to many people’s homes and farms, will cause significant planning, amenity, visual and social impacts,” he wrote.
“Wrong time because the GHG [greenhouse gas] emissions of the coal mine and its coal product will increase global total concentrations of GHGs at a time when what is now urgently needed, in order to meet generally agreed climate targets, is a rapid and deep decrease in GHG emissions. These dire consequences should be avoided. The Project should be refused.”
First published at the Guardian Australia – Friday 8 February 2019.