A win for mining in the Buller Coal case

The Supreme Court has upheld the earlier findings of the High Court and the Environment Court that the ‘climate change effects’ from the end use of coal are irrelevant to the resource consent process.

Chapman Tripp has been representing Buller Coal in an appeal by environmental group West Coast ENT Incorporated (supported by the Royal Forest & Bird Protection Society of New Zealand).  The appeal related to an application for declarations on the extent to which a decision maker should have regard to the effects of climate change when considering landuse consents for a coal mine. 

The Supreme Court agreed with the High Court and the Environment Court that amendments made to the Resource Management Act in 2004 prevented a decision maker from considering the release of greenhouse gases from the eventual burning of mined coal.  The finding is of particular significance to the separate appeals to Buller Coal’s applications for resource consents for the ‘Escarpment Mine’. 

Partner Jack Hodder QC, led the Chapman Tripp team, which also included Partner Jo Appleyard and Senior Associate, Ben Williams.

Jack Hodder QC says: “This is a significant decision for Buller Coal and other entities who may wish to undertake mining and associated landuse activities in New Zealand.  It will have significance more generally for those wanting to undertake landuse activities associated with the discharge of contaminants to air.

"It is also an important decision on the purposive interpretation of major amendments to legislation."

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