In 2016, an Administrative Law Judge recommended the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) adopt the Federal Social Cost of Carbon (FSCC) established by the EPA should to determine the environmental cost values of burning coal in Minnesota. NOTE: This decision is only a recommendation that the PUC is not obligated to follow.
An association representing fisher people who would be impacted by a 4,150 MW coal-fired power plant planned for an Indian coast town filed a complaint with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) Compliance Advisor Ombudsman (CAO) raising concerns about IFC policy violations in the implementation of the project.
In its 2013 Audit and 2015 monitoring report, the CAO found several violations of IFC safeguard policies.
Among other findings, the CAO found that the IFC failed to ensure that consultation carried out as part of the environmental and social analysis constituted “effective consultation.” The CAO explained “[t]his lack of effective consultation with fishing communities early in the project cycle resulted in missed opportunities to assess, avoid and reduce potential adverse impacts of the project and to examine technically and financially feasible alternatives to the sources of adverse impacts[.]” In addition, the inadequate consultation and disclosure “hindered efforts to build and maintain over time a constructive relationship with project affected communities.”
In addition, the CAO found that the IFC’s environmental and social assessments “were not commensurate to risk,” failed to adequately review marine impact, and failed to adequately determine cumulative impacts.
The CAO also found the “IFC did not take the steps necessary to ensure that the application of [Performance Standard] 5 (Land Acquisition and Involuntary Resettlement) in relation to the complainants was properly assessed.”
Finally, the CAO determined that the IFC also failed to ensure World Bank Thermal Power Guidelines were applied properly.
The 2015 Report notes that the IFC has taken some steps to rectify problems raised in the Audit, but the CAO concludes that these steps are not “sufficient to address the findings of the audit at this stage.” Due to the continued violation of IFC policies, the CAO has kept the audit open for continued monitoring.
Chile's Supreme Court decided that the impacts of a coastal coal-fired power plant threatened the plaintiffs' and the larger fishing community's constitutional right to live in an environment free from contamination and ordered Endesa and government authorities to take measures necessary to protect marine species.
The Land and Environment Court of NSW decided that the proposed mine expansion project would cause unacceptable environmental and social impacts, which were not adequately evaluated in the economic assessments, and that the approval conditions would not satisfactorily offset such impacts, so it decided to refuse Warkworth’s expansion project proposal and replace the administrative decision with its refusal.
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.
The Court determined the decision of the Minister for Planning's to approve a coal mine extension project should be granted, but imposed extensive additional conditions on the approval based upon a precautionary approach. These additional conditions provide for more certain conservation of threatened species and biological diversity, protection of water quality, control of particulate emissions, mitigation of noise generated by the mine and noise and dust generated by the transportation of coal by train.
In the Matter of Application of Duke Energy Carolinas, LLC (Cliffside), Order Granting Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity with Conditions, NC PUC, Docket No. E-7, Sub 790
The North Carolina Utilities Commission denied Duke Energy's request to build twin 800 MW coal-fired power plants, saying that the utility had failed to prove that both plants were needed to meet demand. (Duke Energy had planned to sell power from one of the plants). Instead, the state commission gave approval for one plant. The Commission also conditioned its approval on the utility’s commitment to retire older coal-fired generating facilities and to invest a small percentage of its annual retail electricity revenues on energy efficiency. Order E-70, Sub.790, p. 9.