Australian politicians have been slammed by environmentalists for approving plans to open up the Galilee Basin, one of the last known coal reserves on earth, located near the Great Barrier Reef.
On Thursday 13 June, the Australian government gave Indian mining company, Adani, the green light to begin ‘initial construction’ before being able to extract coal – which still requires more assessments.
‘Fuelling global warming’
According to the Guardian, Kelly O’Shanassy, Chief Executive of the Australian Conservation Foundation, said: “The Australian government has just facilitated opening up a new coal basin at the same time scientists are telling us we need to stop digging up coal and burning it because it’s fuelling global warming
“Really it’s kind of bordering on the definition of insanity to do that, especially in Australia where we’re experiencing one of the worst droughts in our living history.”
Rolling Stone writer, Jeff Goodell, who described the mine as ‘The World’s Most Insane Energy Project’, heavily criticized its approval.
‘Sacrificing one of the great wonders’
“The approval of the Adani project is an aggressive attack on the 1,600-mile-long reef in two deadly ways,” he wrote.
“First, by condoning the mining and burning of coal, which is heating up and acidifying the oceans and killing coral reefs, Australian politicians are essentially saying they are willing to sacrifice one of the great wonders of the world for a few jobs for their pals and some extra cash in their pockets.”
Goodell also pointed out that a ‘key part’ of the Adani mine is a coal terminal located on Queensland’s coast – in close proximity to the Great Barrier Reef.
Great Barrier Reef
Earlier this year, Australian authorities were criticized for approving plans to dump one million tons of industrial spoil near the Great Barrier Reef, after being exempt from protection acts due to the waste being made ‘during port maintenance work’.
Senator for The Greens party, Larissa Waters, told the Guardian: “The last thing the reef needs is more sludge dumped on it, after being slammed by the floods recently.
“One million tonnes of dumping dredged sludge into world heritage waters treats our reef like a rubbish tip.”