In an Aussie First, a Federal Environment Minister Might Reject a Coal Mine

We all know that coal mines aren’t on any Father’s Day gift guides this year, right? They are uglier than wind farms, can make dangerous fumes, and will always be the garbage for the environment. The only people who want these things around are the people who have something to gain from them and the poor folks that they’ve bamboozled. 

Fortunately though, one of these plants might never get off the ground. According to the ABC, for the first time ever, a federal environment minister has indicated that get a coal mine rejected. Our Environment Minister, Tanya Plibersek, has proposed that Clive Palmer’s Central Queensland Coal Project doesn’t get created. Plibersek is doing this because she believes that this mine could negatively impact the Great Barrier Reef.

In a statement obtained by The Guardian, Plibersek said, “Based on the information available to me at this stage, I believe that the project would be likely to have unacceptable impacts to the Great Barrier Reef marine park, and the values of the Great Barrier Reef world heritage area and national heritage place.”

Plibersek later explained, “The available evidence also suggests that the project would be likely to have unacceptable impacts on water resources in the area.” However, until a final decision is made, she cannot make any further statements on the matter. 

Related: Would Switching to Renewables Solve Australia’s Energy Crisis?

Related: Australia Could Phase Out Coal In a Decade — Here’s What Would Need to Change

What Has Been the Reaction to This News Been? 

Understandably, the Australian Marine Conservation Society is pleased with that the mine might be rejected. As this group’s Great Barrier Reef campaigner, Cherry Muddle, said, “We are glad the minister has listened to the science and these many warnings and acted in the best interests of our beautiful Reef.” 

Muddle then went on to note, “In the wake of the fourth mass bleaching event on the Reef since 2016, it is vital new coal and gas projects like this one are refused. It shows the government is serious about protecting the Reef and tackling the issues that threaten it.”

The Greens leader, Adam Bandt, is also happy with this decision. However he has explicitly stated that he wants the government to take all of the other proposed coal mines to be put in the rejected. “That’s now one down and 113 to go,” Bandt told the ABC. “There’s 114 of these projects in the pipeline.”

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