The expiration of a key scientific certification for the planned destructive Bylong coal mine is a lifeline for the threatened farming district and its residents, according to Lock the Gate Alliance.
The Alliance today called on the NSW Government to respond to the lapsed certificate by taking action to protect state significant agricultural land from mining and save the Bylong Valley by preventing the mine from proceeding.
A Conditional Gateway Certificate is a formal advice from a scientific panel regarding coal mines that will affect strategic agricultural land. KEPCO’s original certificate for Bylong, issued in 2014, failed on 11 out of 12 impact criteria and expired in April this year.
Today, the Independent Planning Commission issued a statement noting that without a certificate, the IPC cannot determine the application for approval of the Bylong coal mine.
Lock the Gate spokesperson Georgina Woods said, “The expiry of this crucial certificate is a lifeline for the Bylong Valley and an opportunity for the NSW Government to intervene against this mine that will destroy hundreds of hectares of prime agricultural land.
“The lapsing of this certificate puts the spotlight back on the terrible impacts of the Bylong coal mine on agricultural land and water resources, including the Bylong River.
“If the mine is allowed to proceed, it will not only impinge on the crucible of Natural Sequence Farming at Tarwyn Park, but will destroy an area recognised as a critical industry cluster for the equine industry.”
The expiry comes after the proposed mine, along with other coal mines in and around the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area, were listed as a cause of concern due to risks of cumulative impacts at the recent World Heritage Committee meeting in Azerbaijan.
“We need the NSW Government to ensure that this damaging coal mine does not go ahead," Ms Woods said.
“The best way to do that is for the NSW Government to make strategic agricultural land and industry clusters off-limits to mining as they should be.
“It is absolutely the wrong place and the wrong time for a new coal mine.”