Tanya Plebersk says it will block proposed Cliff Palmer coal mine near the Great Barrier Reef | environment

Environment Minister Tanya Plibersk said she intends to block a coal mine project backed by mining billionaire Clive Palmer that could have been drilled for fossil fuels just 10km from Queensland. the great Barrier Reef the coast.

Central Queensland Palmer coal The project had extracted up to 18 million tons per year from two open pits near Rockhampton.

It comes amid calls from the Green Party to ban new coal and gas projects as the Albanian government’s bill to enshrine a 43% cut in greenhouse gas emissions reaches the Senate.

The decision is the first for the new environment minister in the portfolio.

Environmentalists said the proposed rejection was a victory for the state, the Great Barrier Reef, the environment and the climate.

An assessment by the Queensland state government last year said the Central Queensland coal project was “inappropriate” and could damage coral reefs as well as wetlands, fish habitats and ecosystems that depend on groundwater.

An official notice said the minister was proposing to reject the mine under the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 and called for public comment on her draft decision, with submissions closing August 18.

“Based on the information available to me at this point, I believe that the project is likely to have unacceptable impacts on the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, the Great Barrier Reef’s World Heritage values ​​and the National Heritage Place,” the minister said in a statement.

“The available evidence also indicates that the project is likely to have unacceptable impacts on the water resources in the area.”

It said Palmer’s company has been contacted, adding that a final decision will be made after receiving public comments.

“While I am seeking comment on my proposed decision, and until I make my final decision on this project, I cannot make any further statements on this matter.”

Last year, the Queensland government sent a final assessment of the mine to the federal government, saying it presented “a number of unacceptable risks”.

Conservationists have called on the former environment minister, Susan Lee, to reject the mine.

The Palmer Corporation rejected allegations that the mine would cause unacceptable damage. Guardian Australia contacted the Central Queensland Coal’s Brisbane office, but was told that no one was available to speak because “everyone of the company is on-site in central Queensland”.

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Queensland Conservation Council Director Dave Koopman said: “This immediate decision is a welcome change from the late and questionable decision-making approach of the previous Morrison government.”

“It appears we now have a minister who understands science, is willing to listen to the concerns of society, and act accordingly.

“We will not reach Australia’s 43% emissions cut targets for 2030, which were passed by the House of Representatives today, without strong decisions like these.

“This will be very positive news for the many local residents and organizations who have articulated local and scholarly opposition to this project.”

Cherry Muddle, a Great Barrier Reef campaigner at the Australian Marine Conservation Society, said they hoped the “minister would reject this mine once and for all” and pointed to modeling suggesting that mine deposits could have had catastrophic effects on the marine environment. An area rich in marine life.

“Following the fourth mass bleaching event on the reef since 2016, it is extremely important to reject new coal and gas projects like this one,” Muddle said.

“It shows that the government is serious about saving coral reefs and addressing the issues that threaten them.”

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