The High Court of Kenya remanded the environmental license issued for a port project for reconsideration and directed the project proponent to pay Kshs. 1.7 billion in compensation to affected fishing communities who will be impacted by the project. During the reconsideration process, decisionmakers must evaluate the external costs of the port project on the environment and local communities.
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.
Tribunal quashed the environmental clearance issued for a coal-fired power plant for failure to prepare an adequate cumulative impact assessment. “Rapid” assessment submitted by power company did not provide a comprehensive view of the impacts.
National Green Tribunal overturned an environmental clearance issued for a coal-fired power plant proposed by India’s largest thermal power producer. The Tribunal found that environmental information had been concealed and misrepresented, and the EIA and public participation processes were faulty.
The Chilean Supreme Court revoked the environmental permits for the construction of Central Castilla, which would have been the largest proposed coal-fired power plant in South America. Project proponents submitted three separate EIAs for the power plant, a transmission line, and a port for coal imports. Applying the precautionary principle, the Supreme Court declared that the projects should be assessed together to determine the actual area of influence and cumulative impacts.
Reviewing question of whether an EIA for a coal mine, should have considered the impact to the climate of burning the coal, the judge declared, “I consider there is a sufficiently proximate link between the mining of a very substantial reserve of thermal coal in NSW . . . and the emission of GHG which contribute to climate change/global warming . . . to require assessment of that GHG contribution of the coal when burnt in an environmental assessment….”
Environmental groups challenged an amendment to the provisions of a local planning scheme that was necessary for the expansion of the Hazelwood coal mine in southeastern Australia. The petitioners claimed that the environment effects statement (EES) should have included analysis of the impacts of carbon emissions when the coal is later burned. The terms of reference for the EES stated that “[t]he Panel is not to consider matters related to greenhouse gas emissions from the Hazelwood Power Station - these issues are being addressed through a separate process. ”
The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal determined the Panel should have considered concerns about climate impacts from burning the coal after they were raised under the Planning and Environment Act 1987. The Tribunal found that the Panel must “provide a reasonable opportunity to be heard to any party who wishes to make a submission in relation to the environmental impacts of greenhouse gas emissions from the Hazelwood Power Station; and [must] consider those impacts in making its recommendations and report to the planning authority. ” Id. at sec. 1.
Even though the Panel ultimately approved the amendment after considering the GHG emissions from both the mine itself and the later coal combustion, the case is still important for connecting the impacts of GHG emissions from burning coal to the activity of mining the coal.