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KEPCO must withdraw its “insulting” coal and climate appeal

KEPCO’s decision to appeal the rejection of its polluting Bylong thermal coal mine because the assessing authority took into account the project’s impact on climate change is an insult during the current climate-change influenced bushfire crisis and should be withdrawn, according to Lock the Gate Alliance.

NSW’s Independent Planning Commission rejected the multinational mining company’s proposal in September last year, citing the mine’s unacceptable impact on prime agricultural land, water resources, and intergenerational equity due to the carbon emissions it would produce.

However, late last year KEPCO announced it would appeal the IPC’s decision, and the Newcastle Herald revealed this week that the appeal will focus on the Commission’s consideration of the project’s contribution to climate change.

Lock the Gate Alliance spokesperson Georgina Woods said it was disgraceful for KEPCO to focus on the climate change element of the Commission’s rejection at a time when lives had been lost and more than six million hectares of land had been burnt in the ongoing bushfires.

“Burning of coal is fueling the catastrophic impacts of climate change like the bushfires and drought we are now experiencing,” she said.

“The Bylong coal mine was rejected by the Independent Planning Commission because of its unacceptable impact on groundwater and the burden it imposed on future generations due to its contribution to global greenhouse gas emissions and climate change.

“KEPCO’s attempt to erase and ignore climate change is an insult to the Australians who are suffering as a result of these fires. KEPCO is out of step with the public’s growing demand for serious action to prevent worsening changes to our climate.

“What’s more, the soils in the Bylong Valley are among the top 3.5 per cent in the state. At a time when so much of NSW is suffering from severe drought and the unprecedented bushfires, it is madness that this fertile agricultural country remains at risk from mining.

“KEPCO will again face determined and unwavering opposition to this unacceptable coal mine that would destroy such a beautiful agricultural valley. The best thing the company can do right now is withdraw this insulting appeal and join global efforts to urgently bring down greenhouse gas emissions.”

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