The National Green Tribunal ordered coal mining and energy companies to implement a series of measures to reduce environmental pollution and health impacts associated with their facilities operating in the Tamnar and Charghoda coal blocks in the state of Chhattisgarh. The Tribunal declared that no expansion of mining or industrial activities in the area could be approved until a thorough environmental carrying capacity study is completed.
The Constitutional Court found a Wayúu indigenous community’s rights to health and a healthy environment being affected by coal mining operations, ordered the Cerrejón mining company to implement several preventative, mitigation, and corrective measures, and ordered government authorities to implement effective regulatory and enforcement measures, while ensuring the Wayúu community’s participation rights.
The court set aside permissions for a mining project in a protected area and remitted the application for permission for reconsideration in light of “all relevant consideration” and the following specific considerations: (1) compliance with the national administrative law statute; (2) the interests of local communities and the environmental principles of the national environmental management statute; (3) previously required authorizations must be final (i.e., after statutory appeals are resolved) before permissions may be granted; and, (4) a management plan for the protected area must be approved and the contents of said plan must be taken into consideration.
A Russian district court nullified the authorization for a coal mining project because the government failed to adequately show a governmental need to expropriate the agricultural lands at issue for the purpose of coal mining activities to be carried out by a private company ("Stroypozhservice"). The district court decision may be appealed.
The court found deficiencies in the Resource Management Plans at issue that must be remedied, including failure to consider the indirect effects of downstream combustion of resources extracted from the planning areas, failure to quantify properly the magnitude of methane pollution by arbitrarily using outdated science, and failure to consider any alternative with less coal available for leasing.
Although the initial coal-mining operations were authorized in 1983, which makes them and subsequent modifications (including the proposed modification to expand operations by diverting Arroyo Bruno) exempt from the current legal framework requiring and governing environmental impact assessment (in accordance with the transitional legal framework contemplated in Law 99 of 1993), the Constitutional Court determined that the impacts of the stream-diversion project have not been sufficiently assessed to guarantee the affected communities’ rights to water, food, and health. The Court concluded that there are several uncertainties regarding the social and environmental impacts of the stream-diversion project and the potential threats they pose to the affected communities’ rights to water, food security, and health due to the authorities’ failure to adequately identify or estimate relevant variables before authorizing the stream-diversion project. Thus, the Court upheld a lower court’s injunction suspending activities related to the stream-diversion project until the following orders are complied with by a judicially created Inter-Institutional Workgroup composed of governmental and non-governmental actors: (1) ensure the participation in said Workgroup of civil society and academic actors that intervened in the judicial proceedings; (2) identify and assess the uncertainties related to the stream-diversion project in order to establish the measures that should be adopted; (3) within a month of notification of this sentence, develop a detailed schedule of the activities to be carried out, as well as the specific actor responsible for carrying out each activity, in order to identify and assess the uncertainties related to the stream-diversion project; (4) in case the Workgroup determines the stream-diversion project is environmentally viable, incorporate the conclusions resulting from its technical study of uncertainties into Cerrejón’s Integral Management Plan so that Cerrejón adopts measures to prevent, mitigate, control, compensate, and correct environmental and social impacts.
A U.S. court blocked the proposed expansion of an underground coal mine because the environmental assessment (EA) lacked sufficient analysis of the indirect and cumulative impacts of coal transportation and coal combustion. The EA also improperly emphasized the benefits of additional coal mining to the local economy while ignoring the costs of anticipated greenhouse gas emissions from burning the coal.
The Supreme Court of Chile determined that the list of projects enumerated in the EIA regulations is not exhaustive, that any project that causes negative environmental impacts may be subject to citizen participation procedures, and that Mina Invierno’s project to incorporate blasting methods will cause negative environmental impacts and, therefore, may be subject to citizen participation procedures. Thus, the Supreme Court declared invalid the administrative resolutions that rejected the petitions for citizen participation procedures for the project to incorporate blasting methods and ordered the EIA process for said project to be subject to citizen participation procedures.
The District Court vacated the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement’s determination that SMCRA does not require permit termination when surface coal mining operations have not commenced within three years of permit issuance and no valid permit extension has been granted.
Upholding Land and Environment Court decision declaring that an open-cut coal mine should not be allowed to expand because the economic benefits of continued mining do not outweigh the impacts to nearby residents and loss of biodiversity.