Conservation groups slam ‘blind eye’ to Adani water scheme
ENVIRONMENTAL groups have hit out at a decision they claim has allowed Adani's water scheme to be fast-tracked to the environmental approval stage without scrutiny.
The Australian Conservation Foundation claims the Federal Government had referred Adani's North Galilee Water Scheme for environmental approval without applying the federal water trigger.
The foundation's senior campaigner, Christian Slattery, said the move represented a "disregard for our natural environment and failure to protect our rural communities" which rely on healthy rivers.
The Daily Mercury has contacted Environment Minister Sussan Ley and Adani for comment.
The water trigger was established in federal environmental law to ensure large coal mining and coal seam gas projects that affected water resources were subjected to proper scrutiny.
Mackay Conservation Group community organiser Michael Kane described the decision as having made a "mockery of federal environment laws".
"The water trigger was put in place for exactly this type of project," Mr Kane said.
"The government is failing to follow the safeguards that were put in place to protect rural communities, farmers and the environment from water-guzzling mining projects."
Mr Slattery claimed the latest development meant "Adani's plans to suck up to 12.5 billion litres of water each year out of the Suttor River, in drought-ravaged central Queensland, will avoid rigorous scientific oversight".
"This decision highlights the Morrison Government's failure to act on climate change and willingness to turn a blind eye to the enormous water consumption of the coal industry in the middle of our record-breaking drought," he said.
"Because of this decision the Australian public will not know what impact Adani's coal mine will have on the Suttor River, and the communities that depend on it, until it is too late."
In June, the Australian Conservation Foundation won its Federal Court appeal against the assessment of the North Galilee Water Scheme.
The Federal Government was forced to concede the case, admitting it failed to consider public submissions and even lost some submissions.
The June decision created a three-month stumbling block, and the Adani water scheme only reopened for public comment in September.
Despite the case being considered a win by environmentalists, at the time, Adani said the Carmichael mine and rail project would be unaffected.