Australia’s new government announced on Thursday that it plans to block the development of a coal mine due to its possible impact on the Great Barrier Reef.
Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek has indicated that she intends to deny approval of the Central Queensland Coal Project, which would be excavated northwest of the city of Rockhampton, in the state of Queensland.
The minority Greens party has been pressing the center-left Labor government, which was elected in May, to reject approval of coal or gas projects to help reduce the country’s greenhouse gas emissions.
“Based on the information available to me at this time, I believe that the project could have an unacceptable impact on the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, and on the values of the World Heritage Area and the National Heritage Site of Great Barrier Reef. the Great Barrier Reef,” Plibersek said in a statement.
The marine park manages the network of more than 2,500 reefs covering 348,000 square kilometers (134,000 sq mi) of seabed off Australia’s northeast coast. The World Heritage area, designated by the United Nations and the Australian National Heritage List, includes natural, historic and indigenous sites of great importance to the nation.
UNESCO, the UN’s cultural agency, is considering downgrading the Great Barrier Reef to World Heritage status mainly because rising ocean temperatures are killing the coral.