The Bylong community will head to court next week represented by the Environmental Defenders Office to defend a decision to refuse a massive new greenfield coal mine proposed on prime agricultural land in the central tablelands of NSW.
The proposed thermal coal mine – a project of Korean company KEPCO – was refused by the New South Wales Independent Planning Commission last year due to concerns about its impact on productive agricultural land, groundwater and its contribution to climate change.
Next week’s judicial review will take place in the Land and Environment Court from Monday, following KEPCO’s application in December 2019 to appeal the IPC’s decision.
The Environmental Defenders Office will defend the decision on behalf of the Bylong Valley Protection Alliance, after the IPC declined to participate in the judicial review on the basis it may compromise its impartiality.
“This is an important case. It is the first time the IPC has refused a new coal mine because it was not in the public interest, finding the mine would contribute to climate change, ” said Environmental Defenders Office Special Counsel Rana Koroglu.
“The Bylong community is stepping up and defending the IPC’s decision to protect the area’s prime agricultural land from groundwater depletion and stop the mine fuelling devastating climate change.
“We will argue on their behalf that the IPC properly considered the impacts on groundwater and correctly applied the legislation regarding preferred land uses and the assessment of greenhouse gas emissions.”
The Bylong community has been fighting for years against the 6.5 million tonnes-per-year open cut and underground thermal mine, planned in an area known for its scenic beauty and agricultural productivity.
“This area is home to the top 3.5% of agricultural land in the state of New South Wales. KEPCO’s industrial mine places important agricultural land in jeopardy,” said Bylong Valley Protection Alliance President Phil Kennedy.
“We need food security in this country more than we need foreign multinationals digging up one off resources.
“The Bylong Valley is a unique little valley – there are underground streams between four and six metres below the surface that we’re able to tap for food security and fodder production. This proposed mine would compromise that.”
What: Judicial review of Independent Planning Commission’s refusal of KEPCO’s Bylong Valley Coal Mine
When: Monday 24 August, 10am – Thursday 27 August
Court: Hearing in NSW Land and Environment Court to be held online
Joining the hearing online
1. Ensure that your device has reliable connectivity and coverage.
2. If you are using a web browser to connect via the Web Link, please ensure your browser meets the following standards: Google Chrome (min. v.73), Mozilla Firefox (min. v.66). Please note it is NOT recommended to use either Internet Explorer (IE) or Microsoft Edge as these browsers do not support this particular software.
3. Click the web link here or below.
4. You will be asked to enter your name and details.
5. Click “Join Meeting”.
6. Mute your microphone.