Bylong residents will be able to fight for their farmland and heritage after an application to join a court case to defend the Independent Planning Commission’s (IPC) decision to reject the destructive KEPCO coal mine was successful.
Represented by the Environmental Defenders Office, the Bylong Valley Protection Alliance (BVPA) will now challenge KEPCO’s appeal against the IPC’s ruling.
The Commission’s original 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 IPC will not take an active role in defending the judicial review brought by KEPCO against its original decision.
BVPA president Phillip Kennedy welcomed the court’s decision today.
“This is great news because we need to preserve agricultural land more than ever right now,” he said.
“This means the court can hear first hand evidence from us. We can cross examine KEPCO if we’re there at the coal face, so to speak, rather than sitting and watching on the sidelines.
“We should be heard, because this decision is directly affecting us.
“It’s always been a David vs Goliath battle, with governments supporting Goliath.
“Particularly the State Government appears to want to turn NSW into little more than a cleared patch of land.
“We need to preserve agricultural land for longevity, not destroy it for a temporary coal mine.”
The case will be heard in the Land and Environment Court from 24 to 27 August this year.