The court found deficiencies in the Resource Management Plans at issue that must be remedied, including failure to consider the indirect effects of downstream combustion of resources extracted from the planning areas, failure to quantify properly the magnitude of methane pollution by arbitrarily using outdated science, and failure to consider any alternative with less coal available for leasing.
An environmental organization has constitutional right to intervene in public utility proceeding concerning a power purchase agreement. The right to a clean and healthful environment guaranteed by the Hawaiian constitution is a property right that is protected by due process and the utility commission must consider impacts to that right in determining whether to approve a power purchase agreement.
Although the initial coal-mining operations were authorized in 1983, which makes them and subsequent modifications (including the proposed modification to expand operations by diverting Arroyo Bruno) exempt from the current legal framework requiring and governing environmental impact assessment (in accordance with the transitional legal framework contemplated in Law 99 of 1993), the Constitutional Court determined that the impacts of the stream-diversion project have not been sufficiently assessed to guarantee the affected communities’ rights to water, food, and health. The Court concluded that there are several uncertainties regarding the social and environmental impacts of the stream-diversion project and the potential threats they pose to the affected communities’ rights to water, food security, and health due to the authorities’ failure to adequately identify or estimate relevant variables before authorizing the stream-diversion project. Thus, the Court upheld a lower court’s injunction suspending activities related to the stream-diversion project until the following orders are complied with by a judicially created Inter-Institutional Workgroup composed of governmental and non-governmental actors: (1) ensure the participation in said Workgroup of civil society and academic actors that intervened in the judicial proceedings; (2) identify and assess the uncertainties related to the stream-diversion project in order to establish the measures that should be adopted; (3) within a month of notification of this sentence, develop a detailed schedule of the activities to be carried out, as well as the specific actor responsible for carrying out each activity, in order to identify and assess the uncertainties related to the stream-diversion project; (4) in case the Workgroup determines the stream-diversion project is environmentally viable, incorporate the conclusions resulting from its technical study of uncertainties into Cerrejón’s Integral Management Plan so that Cerrejón adopts measures to prevent, mitigate, control, compensate, and correct environmental and social impacts.
A U.S. court blocked the proposed expansion of an underground coal mine because the environmental assessment (EA) lacked sufficient analysis of the indirect and cumulative impacts of coal transportation and coal combustion. The EA also improperly emphasized the benefits of additional coal mining to the local economy while ignoring the costs of anticipated greenhouse gas emissions from burning the coal.
A utility company violated the Clean Water Act when it disposed of coal ash into unlined ponds, which leaked contaminants via groundwater to an adjacent river. The court directed the utility company to excavate the coal ash and move it to a dry lined disposal location.
The Supreme Court of Chile determined that the list of projects enumerated in the EIA regulations is not exhaustive, that any project that causes negative environmental impacts may be subject to citizen participation procedures, and that Mina Invierno’s project to incorporate blasting methods will cause negative environmental impacts and, therefore, may be subject to citizen participation procedures. Thus, the Supreme Court declared invalid the administrative resolutions that rejected the petitions for citizen participation procedures for the project to incorporate blasting methods and ordered the EIA process for said project to be subject to citizen participation procedures.