Australian Environmental Minister Greg Hunt has put forth new approval to proceed with the development of the Carmichael Coal Mine, which had previously been halted due to legal action from environmental groups. What rhymes with Hunt?
Originally proposed in 2010, the Carmichael project creates about 60 million tons of coal a year for export, the majority which is transported to India. In a world just beginning to turn towards alternative energy his approval seems just as controversial, or more-so, than it was in it’s early stages. Australian Conservation Foundation president Geoff Cousins argues, “To approve a massive coal mine that would make species extinct, deplete 297 billion litres of precious groundwater and produce 128.4 million tonnes of CO2 a year is grossly irresponsible.”
Image source: BBC News
The agreement requires that Indian company Adani, the mine’s primary backer, implements all directions given by the Independent Expert Scientific Committee on Coal Seam Gas and Large Coal Mining Development. Additional requirements include the protection and improvement of 31,000 hectares home to the Southern Black Throated Finch, one million dollars in funds over ten years to improve research and conservation of threatened species in the Galilee Basin, and strict monitoring of groundwater in the Doongmabulla Spring.
“In making this decision I have considered additional information provided by Adani and environmental groups…” Mr Hunt stated. Aside from disruption on the mainland of the Finch habitat, Springs, and ancestoral graves of the Juru people, there is also the potentially dangerous proximity to the Caley Valley Wetlands, the use of of annual billions of litres of water, and last but not least we also have the Great Barrier Reef offshore to consider. This coal isn’t getting anywhere without the proper port built to send it overseas. That’ s a lot to consider, Mr. Hunt.
Image: Megan Taylor via the Townesville Bulliten