A final decision on whether to approve the expansion Wollongong Coal's Russell Vale mine should wait until after the outcome of a landmark environmental law case is know, the Environmental Defenders Office (EDO) says.
In that case, the court ruled the minister owes a duty of care to protect young people from the human health impacts of climate change.
With the mine expansion having been given the tick of approval from the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment, and the states Independent Planning Commission, the final green light is required from Federal Environment Minister Sussan Ley.
The EDO has written to Ms Ley insisting she needs more consideration about Russell Vale and climate change owing to the Sharma case.
The EDO told Ms Ley that she did not have the information required, as Wollongong Coal had not included it.
"We note that much of the uncontested scientific evidence about climate change in Sharma would also apply to the Russell Vale Expansion," the EDO wrote. "However, you do not have information available to you at this stage as to the specific contribution it will make to the catastrophic harm that Australian children will suffer as a result of climate change due to the Russell Vale Expansion."
While Sharma, which was argued over the Whitehaven Coal mine near Gunnedah. Its consequence was not to stop the mine, but the establishment of a new duty of care which the minister must take into consideration when making their decision on a final approval.
A Greenhouse Gas and Energy Assessment developed by consultant Umwelt found that the mine would generate about 1.5 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2-e) in Scope 1 (direct) emissions over the predicted five-year life of the mine.
This would be from diesel usage, fugitive emissions and gas drainage, and power use.
It would also account for about 9.6 million tonnes of Scope 3 (indirect) emissions, generated by third parties who transport and consume the project's coal products, the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment said in its assessment report for the mine.
But Wollongong Coal's Air Quality and Greenhouse Gas Management (AQGGM) plan says there are no measures available to control GHG emissions
After a month's extension was granted, Minister Ley now has until July 8 to make her final decision.
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