Rocky Hill Coal Project: Why the Court refused development consent and future implications
In an Australian first, development consent for a new coal mine was refused by the Land and Environment Court of NSW (the Court) for reasons that included its material greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and contribution to climate change.
This decision is the latest in a long line of climate change litigation cases, and part of an increasing trend in NSW and Victoria, and internationally, for proceedings to be brought opposing development on the basis of climate change. The extent to which the Court addressed the issue of climate change on a global scale marks this as a landmark decision which significantly enhances the role of GHG emissions in the assessment of mining, as well as other major developments, in NSW (More information).
Elisa de Wit, a lawyer who leads the climate change practice at Norton Rose Fulbright, will lead a discussion on why this has happened and the future implications this case has for Australia.
Elisa de Wit is an environment and planning, and climate change lawyer based in Melbourne. She heads the Australian climate change practice at Norton Rose Fulbright.
Elisa’s environmental experience includes advising on various environmental permitting regimes, including waste management, pollution control and discharge consents, representing clients in connection with environmental offences or breaches of environmental legislation and undertaking substantial due diligence exercises. She also has significant experience advising in relation to contaminated land, both in the context of property and corporate transactions and in relation to liability issues.
Elisa has a detailed understanding of the National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting Scheme (NGERS), the Carbon Farming Initiative (CFI), Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF), the Renewable Energy Target (RET) and the Safeguard Mechanism and has provided extensive advice to a wide range of clients on the obligations and opportunities which flow from NGERS, ERF and RET.
In conjunction with RAMP Carbon, Elisa authored “Implementing the Carbon Farming Initiative – A Guide For Business” on behalf of the Carbon Market Institute. Elisa is the author of the CFI chapter for the Lexis Nexis Clean Energy Law in Australia service and was also an author of the CFI Legal and Contracts Guide prepared with funding from the Commonwealth Government’s CFI Extension and Outreach program, which was published in February 2014. Elisa has received a number of awards and ratings.