The Northern territory government is facing two separate law suits over a land clearing permit that some say may damage important habitats and jeopardise sacred Indigenous sites.

The permit in question regards to the clearing of around 900 hectares on Auvergne Station located South West of Darwin near the WA border and was granted under the NT government’s new streamlined approval process.

The Environment Centre NT is arguing to have the project cancelled as the approved permit does not allow land clearing.

In a statement the Centre’s director Kristy Howey said that land clearing is the biggest threat facing biodiversity, and clearing cotton in the NT will “decimate local wildlife, impact rivers and add to greenhouse gas emissions.”

Howell also made note of the environmental significance of the Northern Territory’s savanna region, saying that it should be given the same amount of respect and protections given to other natural national treasures such as the Great Barrier Reef.

Also launching legal action, on Friday the Northern Land Council claims the rights of native title holders were overlooked in the decision making process.

The council is concerned that sacred sites are being put at risk by land clearing, highlighting that the NT land board doesn’t require applicants to obtain clearances to work on sacred sites.

On Monday NT chief minister Natasha Fyles stood behind her government’s actions saying that the environment is a priority for the government and the NT will continue to push legislation that proves it.

If the cases goes through climate activists have suggested that the precedent could help save some of the last remaining savannas across the planet.

Image Credit: Kimberly Vardeman