Date
11 December 2017
Australian PM Tony Abbott has accused environmental groups of blocking key mining projects and hurting the economy. Photo: Bloomberg
Australian PM Tony Abbott has accused environmental groups of blocking key mining projects and hurting the economy. Photo: Bloomberg

Australia seeks to protect mining projects from green groups

Australia plans to amend environmental laws to prevent environmental groups from challenging mining projects in which they have no direct involvement, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane was quoted as telling the nation’s lawmakers Tuesday that green groups were blocking resource projects “regardless of the economic impact on the community”.

The push to amend environmental laws comes after a court earlier this month overturned approval for India’s Adani Group to build one of the world’s biggest new coal mines on scrubland near the Great Barrier Reef, the report noted.

Green groups went to court to try to stop the Carmichael coal mine project amid concerns the mine and related infrastructure in the Galilee Basin of Queensland state could endanger some reptile species.

After the court decision, the government said it would to repeal parts of the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Act that had allowed environmental groups to delay resource projects or even stop them completely.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott has said that green groups were threatening growth and Australia’s national interests. 

Meanwhile, environmental group Greenpeace said the government aims to strip Australians’ rights to defend nature in response to pressure from the coal industry.

“They’re seeking to legislate special treatment and fast tracking for an industry in decline that causes significant environmental and economic damage,” David Ritter, chief executive of Greenpeace Australia Pacific, was quoted as saying. 

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RC

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