Target: Dr. M. Veerappa Moily, Minister of Environment and Forests, India
Goal: Reinstate public hearings with affected communities for expansions of mining operations
By choosing to give coal mining industries greater freedom to expand, India’s ministry of environment and forests (MoEF) has taken the human rights of communities affected by mining projects.
The ministry awarded coal mining operations the ability to expand their capacity by up to 50% without having to have a public forum with the communities. The public forums represent the only opportunity for affected communities to give their opinion of the mining operations and protect their environment. It is a democratic and human right to have some decision-making power when the action taken affects them. Because this change allows almost all mining expansions to take place without any required public notification, the MoEF is violating the affected communities’ human rights.
In 2012, the ministry removed public hearings for 25% capacity expansions after they were initially made mandatory for all expansions in 2009. The threshold of 25% for public hearings was worrying, but raising the threshold to 50% effectively denies the people their right to participate in the decision. The ministry should immediately reverse its policy choice and reinstate the 2009 requirement.
Everyone deserves to have some say in whether to trade their environment for some degree of profit. Moreover, coal mining has been shown to pollute water, air, and soil. When the consequences are so expansive, it is unacceptable for an affected group to not have a choice.
Sign this petition to urge the minister of environment and forests to reinstate public forum requirements for all coal mining expansions.
Dear Dr. M. Veerappa Moily,
The Ministry of Environment and Forest’s decision to raise the threshold on coal mining expansions that require a public forum was dangerous and unjust. At a capacity expansion threshold of 50%, the requirement for public forums is practically irrelevant. Project-affected communities are being denied their right under international law to participate in decisions that affect them and their environment.
Taking away the human rights of these communities is not only unjust, but it is irresponsible as a state-appointed caretaker of the environment. Coal mining is one of the least environmental energy providers and this decision allows the coal industry to expand their operations effectively uninhibited.
I urge you to reconsider the decision to raise the threshold and restore public forum requirements for all coal mining expansions.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Biswarup Ganguly