Bylong residents win right to defend coal mine ban in court

Photo: Battle for Bylong / Facebook

The Bylong Valley Protection Alliance (BVPA) has formally been accepted as part of the Land and Environment Court case battling to save a valley near Mudgee, in New South Wales, from being destroyed by a massive open-cut coal mine.

They will now fight KEPCO’s appeal against the Independent Planning Commission’s (IPC) ruling in the court.

Residents of Bylong, near Mudgee in NSW, have been campaigning against South Korean mining corporation KEPCO’s efforts to overturn the IPC rejection of its coal mine.

Phil Kennedy, local farmer and BVPA president said on May 5: “The court accepted that the BVPA has acted as a ‘lead objector’ against the mine proposal.” He said that this was important because “the IPC itself isn’t going to mount a substantial defence of its decision”.

The IPC’s ruling, made last year, found the risks posed by KEPCO’s proposed coal mine to water, land, and future generations through its contribution to climate change were too great.

“The court particularly said that consideration of intergenerational equity and climate change in coal mine decisions raise ‘significant matters of broad public interest’. We’re proud to be taking on this important matter for future generations,” Kennedy said.

Environment Defenders Office (EDO) spokesperson David Morris said it was important that the local community “who would bear the full brunt of impacts if the mine goes ahead” have a full voice in court.

The original IPC ruling made last September found the risks to water, land and future generations by KEPCO’s proposed coal mine through its contribution to climate change were too great.

As a full party, with legal representation by the EDO, the BVPA will now be able to object to the evidence presented by KEPCO, cross-examine witnesses and file their own evidence.

The case will be heard in the Land and Environment Court from August 24 to 27.

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