Gray v. Minister for Planning, 40870 of 2006 (2006.11.27) (Land and Environment Court of New South Wales) (Judgment)
Petitioner Peter Gray challenged a decision by the Director-General of the Director of Planning that the EIA prepared by the proponent of the proposed Anvil Mine was adequate. Gray asserted among other things that the EIA should have considered the impact to the climate of burning the mined coal at a coal-fired power plant.
Judge Pain’s decision in this case presents an eloquent defense of considering this impact: “I consider there is a sufficiently proximate link between the mining of a very substantial reserve of thermal coal in NSW, the only purpose of which is for use as fuel in power stations, and the emission of GHG which contribute to climate change/global warming, which is impacting now and likely to continue to do so on the Australian and consequently NSW environment, to require assessment of that GHG contribution of the coal when burnt in an environmental assessment…”
“Environmental assessment is intended to enable decision makers to be properly informed about the future environmental consequences of the project before them. The environmental assessment is a prediction of what the impacts might be given that the project is yet to be built. It is not appropriate to limit the scope of the environmental assessment on the basis that GHG emissions may or may not be subject to regulation in the future whether in NSW or overseas. The fact that it is difficult to quantify an impact with precision does not mean it should not be done.”