The long-running battle against the Bylong Valley Coal Mine is heading to the High Court after South Korean company KEPCO sought special leave to appeal the decision to refuse the mine.

After securing victory in the Court of Appeal last month, Environmental Defenders Office clients, the Bylong Valley Protection Alliance, will once again join the legal fight to stop the mine, more than two years after it was first rejected.

The NSW Independent Planning Commission’s (IPC) first decided to refuse the greenfield thermal coal mine in September 2019, including on climate grounds.

KEPCO applied for judicial review of the decision in December 2019.

While the IPC declined to defend its decision on the basis it may compromise its impartiality, in May 2020 the Bylong Valley Protection Alliance successfully applied to become a full party to the judicial review, represented by EDO.    

The judicial review was heard in the NSW Land and Environment Court in August 2020 and in December 2020, KEPCO’s appeal was rejected.   

A further appeal against the NSW Land and Environment Court decision was lodged by KEPCO in March 2021 and was heard by the NSW Court of Appeal on 25 August 2021. 

That appeal was also rejected unanimously by three appeal judges in September 2021.

EDO Managing Lawyer Rana Koroglu said:

“We’re disappointed that KEPCO has chosen to force the Bylong community back to court to defend their beautiful valley once again.

“This marks KEPCO’s fourth attempt at getting approval for their coal mine, after failing before the NSW Independent Planning Commission, the Land and Environment Court and the Court of Appeal.

“On the eve of critical climate talks at the Glasgow climate change conference this month, it is astounding that this company has chosen to pursue this climate-wrecking proposal – which would generate over 200 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions – particularly when South Korea itself has recently made strong commitments to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions.

“EDO will once again stand with our clients the Bylong Valley Protection Alliance to defend the refusal of this climate-wrecking coal mine.”