A local environmental association (“Save the Vaal Environment”) petitioned South Africa’s mining authority to comment on an application by Sasol Mining for a license to mine coal near the Vaal River, but the mining authority refused to provide such an opportunity and issued the mining license to Sasol Mining, so Save the Vaal Environment sought judicial review of the mining authority's decision. The Supreme Court of Appeal agreed with Save the Vaal Environment that the mining authority should have applied the audi alteram partem rule (or “audi-rule”) to provide an opportunity for comment.
The district court determined it was unreasonable for agencies to quantify the benefits of lease modifications for coal mining and then explain that a similar analysis of the costs of GHG emissions and climate impacts was impossible when such an analysis was in fact possible due to the availability of the Social Cost of Carbon Protocol, even if the cost-benefit analysis was not required by law. Thus, the court set aside the government authorizations of the proposed expansion of coal mining operations and ordered the intervening mining companies to stop exploration activities.
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.
The Madras High Court determined that the operator of a coal-fired power plant isn't beneficially utilizing fly ash, among other regulatory violations. Thus, the court enjoined the operator from dumping material that would affect the marsh land in Vallur Village, Tamil Nadu.