La Corte determinó que hay varias incertidumbres relacionadas a los impactos sociales y ambientales del proyecto del desvío y las posibles amenazas que presentan para los derechos de las comunidades indígenas afectadas debido a la inadecuada identificación y estimación de varias variables relevantes antes de la autorización del proyecto del desvío del Arroyo Bruno.
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 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 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.
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.
Constitutional Court nullified law allowing mining in páramos (high-elevation wetlands), despite a general moratorium on mining activities in these ecologically important areas. Because páramos provide environmental services in regulating the hydrological cycle and sequestering carbon, the Court decided the government must protect páramos as part of its duty to fulfill the fundamental constitutional rights to water and a healthy environment.
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.