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Supreme Court declines costs in coal vs climate case

Supreme Court declines costs in coal vs climate case

West Coast Environment Network does not have to pay $60,000 in legal costs sought by coal miners Bathurst Resources, Solid Energy and the West Coast Regional and Buller District Councils in a climate change case that went to the Supreme Court. But Bathurst Resources is still seeking nearly $300,000 in costs from the group on other cases.

West Coast Environment Network lost an appeal on whether the climate change impacts of mining coal should be taken into account by the Resource Management Act. Yesterday the Supreme Court declined to award costs against it.

“It was disappointing to lose the case; that this loophole still allows coal companies avoid responsibility for their climate impacts,” says West Coast Environment Network spokesperson Lynley Hargreaves. “But we're heartened that the Supreme Court has recognised that it was an important question on an unclear piece of law.” The Supreme Court found that the underlying issue of law was difficult and its resolution had a significance which went well beyond the present case.

In the interim, however, Bathurst Resources has sought $270,000 costs from the West Coast Environment Network for its role in the Environment Court Hearing on the Denniston Case and is also seeking almost $30,000 in costs regarding the High Court appeals including those taken by the Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society. The coal miner is not seeking costs against the Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society.


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