ACF challenges government’s stance on Adani pipeline

The Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) is taking the Federal Government to court over its assessment of Adani’s plan for a water pipeline to service its coal mine.

The ACF will challenge Federal Environment Minister Melissa Price’s decision not to apply the water trigger in assessing water infrastructure for Adani’s proposed coal mine.

Adani intends to pump 12.5 billion litres of water from the Suttor River in central Queensland. The ACF said farmers and wetlands rely on the Suttor River, which floods and dries up at different times.

Adani’s North Galilee Water Scheme project would supply the mine with water to wash coal, keep dust down and reduce fire hazards.

In September 2018, a spokesperson from the Department of Environment and Energy said, ”Standalone proposals which involve only associated infrastructure, such as pipelines, are not captured by the water trigger because they do not directly involve the extraction of coal.”

ACF said it will argue the Minister made an error of law in not applying the water trigger, and that the pipeline is essential infrastructure to service the coal mine and would not be built at all if not for Adani’s mine. Therefore, the water trigger should be applied.

ACF Chief Executive Officer, Kelly O’Shanassy, said, “Water is precious on our dry continent, yet Adani wants to take billions of litres of river water every year, nearly as much as all local farmers combined.

“The water trigger requires the Federal Government to comprehensively assess all large coal mines and coal seam gas developments to determine if they will have a significant impact on our water.”

The Sydney Morning Herald has reported that Adani plans to go ahead with the project, with the mining company saying the volume of water to be pumped from the river catchment had already received environmental approval, and a water licence had been granted by the Queensland Government.

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