Author Archive: Shani

LEGAL CHALLENGE OF FEDERAL APPROVAL OF THE OLYMPIC DAM EXPANSION CONTINUES

21ST JUNE 2012 FEDERAL COURT ADELAIDE

On the 20th April 2012 Justice Besanko dismissed Uncle Kevin Buzzacotts’ case challenging the Federal Environment Ministers approval of the Olympic Dam expansion. Uncle Kevin is appealing the decision on the following grounds:

1. The judge was mistaken in ruling that the Minister did not need to consider existing conditions imposed by the state of South Australia on water extraction from the Great Artesian Basin. These conditions refer to the Indenture Act, which contains provisions allowing BHP to search for water and seek further water licences beyond the current licence limit of 42 million litres per day.

2. The judge was mistaken in holding that the approval was sufficiently certain with regard to the EPBC Act (the Act under which the approval was made). The judge focused on the certainty of the conditions, finding that the Minister had a wide power to impose a broad range of conditions, and that the conditions made it reasonably clear to BHP what it was required to do; however the argument was that the whole of the approval is uncertain because so much of the design of the project is left to be defined by studies and plans set out in the conditions which are yet to be done.

Please come to court and show your support on the 21st June at 9am outside the courthouse. The hearing is listed for 9.30 am, court 1, level 5, Federal Court, Angus St. Adelaide.… Read more >>

Mining Giant seeks costs From Arabunna Elder after ruling on challenge to Federal Approval Of The Olympic Dam expansion

MEDIA RELEASE FRIDAY 20TH APRIL 20212

In a packed courtroom today Justice Besanko dismissed Uncle Kevin Buzzacott’s challenge of the Federal approval of the Olympic Dam expansion. The judge did not discuss his reasons in the court.

Both BHP and the Federal government are seeking costs from Kevin Buzzacott.

The hearing was held in the Federal Court on the 3rd and 4th April, after which the Judge reserved his judgement. Both BHP Billiton and the South Australian government had successfully sought to become parties to the proceedings.

“The speed with which this decision was made suggests pressure to resolve the matter as quickly as possible so as not to impact the project,” said Nectaria Calan of Friends of the Earth Adelaide.

“The judgement is really a product of the constrained nature of such administrative challenges. It really rests on interpretation of two pieces of legislation which govern the Ministers approval. The merits of the project were never on the table for discussion.”

“If such an approval with so many future plans yet to be approved constitutes a proper approval under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Act, how can such an open-ended  project be judicially reviewed?” said Ms Calan.

“The question we are left with is whether the EPBC Act protects the environment,” Ms Calan continued.

“This is a very sad day,” said applicant Kevin Buzzacott. “We offered the judge the issue on a platter, and he wasted an opportunity to make changes that will reverberate in this nation for thousands of years.”

“But we’re not going away. This isn’t over yet,” Mr Buzzacott concluded.

Both Kevin Buzzacott and Nectaria Calan will be available for comment on the details of the ruling early next week once the lengthy judgement has been considered.

Contact: Kevin Buzzacott  0431 157 747

Nectaria Calan  0432 388 665… Read more >>

OLYMPIC DAM APPROVAL CHALLENGED IN FEDERAL COURT THIS WEEK

MEDIA RELEASE
Monday 2nd April

David and Goliath: Kevin Buzzacott v Federal Environment Minister, SA Government and BHP Billiton

Uncle Kevin Buzzacott, Aboriginal Elder of the Arabunna Nation in Northern South Australia, is challenging the Federal Environment Ministers approval of the Olympic Dam expansion on the grounds that various environmental impacts of the project were not properly considered. He is represented by the Environmental Defenders Office, a community legal centre specialising in public interest litigation. The case will be heard on the 3rd and 4th of April in the Federal Court, Adelaide.

In October last year, the Hon Tony Burke MP approved the project under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act 1999.

Mr. Buzzacott is challenging the Minister’s approval on the following grounds:

1. The approval is so uncertain that it does not constitute a proper approval under the EPBC Act. This is because much of the environmental assessment and decision-making is left up to plans and studies that have not yet been prepared or considered by the Minister or the public.

2. The Minister did not properly consider the impact of the Olympic Dam expansion on the environment. In particular, the impacts from the above ground storage of radioactive tailings waste.

3. The Minister failed to consider the environmental impacts associated with the export of uranium.

4. The Minister failed to properly consider the impacts of the expansion on groundwater resources including the Great Artesian Basin.

“Because this is a nuclear action, the Minister is required by the EPBC Act to properly consider all environmental impacts. The size of this project makes this particularly important. Just the tailings dams will end up covering 4,400 hectares, to be left on the surface of the land forever. These dams are designed to leak radioactive waste into the underlying rock and aquifer.… Read more >>

FUNDS URGENTLY NEEDED TO SUPPORT LEGAL CHALLENGE OF FEDERAL ENVIRONMENT MINISTERS APPROVAL OF THE OLYMPIC DAM EXPANSION

Uncle Kevin Buzzacott, Arabunna elder and honorary president of the Australian Nuclear Free Alliance, is challenging the approval on the grounds that various environmental impacts of the project were not properly considered as required under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation  Act (see attatched media release).

This is an administrative challenge, so it does not challenge the merits of the project per se. If we succeed the Minister will be forced to re-consider the approval and show that the contested environmental impacts have been properly considered. This may delay the project, and is well-timed in that the BHP Board of Directors are currently considering whether to proceed with the project. Concurrently, we are building a massive direct action at the gates of the mine for July (The Lizards Revenge).

BHP Billiton and the South Australian government have successfully applied to become parties to the proceedings. This means that they will be throwing their weight behind the Federal Environment Minister.

The hearing will take place on the 3rd and 4th April in the Federal Court (Adelaide). Two Sydney-based barristers are undertaking the case on a pro-bono basis (ie. they are not charging for their time), in conjunction with the Environmental Defenders Office. However there are various other expenses that need to be covered. These include travel and accommodation for the barristers, Freedom of Information applications, court filing costs, copying transcripts, and courier costs (when large documents need to be quickly shared between Adelaide and Sydney).

We hope to limit costs to $4000, but costs may reach $8000 – $10,000. At this stage we have $740 from a recent benefit gig in Adelaide. We have under two weeks to raise the remainder.

This case belongs to all of us – please make a donation – any amount welcome

Please make donations to:

Account name: Friends of the Earth, Adelaide

BSB: 633-000

Account number: 127 009 231

Please label donation with:  COURT CASE (so we know what the donation is for)

Read more >>