Appeal over climate change ruling

MICHAEL BERRY
Last updated 10:37 30/07/2012

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The courtroom war over mining the Denniston and Stockton plateaus continues today at the High Court in Christchurch.

Environmentalists are appealing against an Environment Court declaration that climate change cannot be considered in resource consent decisions.

It is being fought by the West Coast Environment Network and Forest & Bird against Australian coalminer Bathurst Resources.

Early this year, Bathurst and state-owned miner Solid Energy went to the Environment Court for a ruling on the climate change question to clear up future hearings and appeals.

The main appeal against Bathurst's resource consents is due to be heard by the High Court in October.

In May, the judge ruled that regional government should plan for climate change but leave regulatory action on it to central government. The appeal against that decision is being heard today.

The West Coast Environment Network said Nasa scientist James Hansen will give evidence about the impact coalmining has on climate change.

Network spokeswoman Lynley Hargreaves said climate change was the biggest issue facing humanity.

''We believe that decision-makers need to be able to take a project's impact on the climate into account in cases such as these,'' she said.

Although the case had implications for many resource consents, it was specifically about Bathurst's proposed mine on the Denniston Plateau and Solid Energy's planned Mt William mine on nearby Stockton Plateau, she said.

Both mines propose to export coal to countries without Kyoto obligations, she said.

Bathurst plans to mine about 500,000 tonnes annually from its planned escarpment mine on the Denniston Plateau in the first three years before scaling up.

It has several other mines and planned developments in the area.

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- The Press

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