Clearing case hears climate claim
An NT court is hearing its first challenge to the approval of land clearing on the basis of climate change impacts.
A challenge has been brought against the NT EPA’s decision that a proposal to clear 20,000 hectares at the Maryfield cattle station near Darwin did not require an environmental impact assessment.
The EPA ruled it did not have to consider the impact of emissions from the clearing, because the Northern Territory has no climate policy and because the emissions would not be nationally significant.
Lawyers for the Environmental Defenders Office NT argue the EPA does have responsibility in these areas.
The lawyers also argue that the authority's final decision was invalid, because it failed to follow its own meeting procedures and did not vote on the final decision.
Emails between the EPA decision-makers, revealed in court, show the concerns raised by a number of members.
“My inconsistency radar is flashing red,” one regulator wrote.
“For many projects with a much smaller area involved we have required extensive flora and fauna surveys.”
The next hearings are set for December.