Far from being ‘strict’ the Federal Environment Minister’s conditions for the re-approved Carmichael coal mine let project proponent Adani amend environmental management plans without Ministerial approval, the Australian Conservation Foundation said today.

When he re-approved Adani’s Carmichael coal mine last week Environment Minister Greg Hunt said the project had been approved “subject to 36 of the strictest conditions in Australian history”.

But scrutiny of those conditions shows the plans that must be developed to mitigate the project’s environmental impacts can be changed by the company without getting the Minister’s approval.

Adani is required merely to ‘notify’ the Department of changes.

“These changes significantly weaken the environmental conditions put on the proposal to dig the biggest coal mine in Australia’s history,” said ACF CEO Kelly O’Shanassy.

“The changes to the earlier approval, which was set aside by the Federal Court in August, mean Adani can amend environmental management plans without getting Ministerial approval – the company merely needs to notify the Department.

“The company could potentially alter wildlife protection and habitat rehabilitation measures, choose not to publish monitoring data or shift the locations at which it is supposed to monitor the mine’s impact on groundwater.

“Far from being strict, these conditions give too much discretion to the company.

“Scientists fear if the mine proceeds the endangered Black-throated Finch, which has one of its last remaining strongholds in the proposed mine area, could be made extinct.

“Clearly there’s something wrong if the ‘strictest conditions’ in history cannot protect an endangered species from extinction.

“And the conditions do nothing about the climate pollution that will result from burning the coal, which would be more than Victoria’s entire annual emissions.

“ACF is closely studying the re-approval and will use all appropriate means to stop this mine,” Ms O’Shanassy said.

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