Environmental groups (led by the Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society of New Zealand) have been challenging the plans for an open-cast mine to be developed by Buller Coal (a subsidiary of Bathurst Resources in Australia) on conservation land on the Denniston Plateau.  Part of the challenge has been focused on whether the resource consent process should be required to take into account likely climate change impacts.

The Environment Court decided in June 2012 that the effects of activities on climate change were not required to be taken into account in the Resource Management Act consent process, as those considerations are already dealt with at central Government level.

The High Court has upheld the earlier Environment Court decision.  The written judgment is expected to be released publicly in the near future.