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KEPCO’s Bylong coal mine legal challenge inconsistent with South Korea’s latest climate move

Plans to build a thermal coal mine on fertile agricultural land in the Bylong Valley are increasingly at odds with new climate policies of the ruling party in South Korea.

The party this week announced a ‘Green New Deal’ manifesto as an election commitment, which includes a series of policies, such as the discontinuation of coal project financing.

It comes after KEPCO’s South Korean parent company announced it had written off the project and reduced the value of land it had acquired in the Bylong Valley for the coal mine to zero.

KEPCO’s planned Bylong coal mine was also rejected by the Independent Planning Commission late last year due to its impact on agriculture, underground water, and the climate crisis, however the company has since challenged that decision in court.

A decision on whether the IPC should reconsider its decision to reject the mine is months away, meaning local landholders will continue to face the uncertainty they’ve been dealing with for many years since the project was first announced.

Bylong Valley Protection Alliance spokesperson Phillip Kennedy said the Australian arm of KEPCO should withdraw its legal challenge and abandon all plans for the coal mine.

“We have been dealing with the uncertainty surrounding this project for long enough,” he said.

“KEPCO should pack up and leave. The IPC ruled the Bylong Valley was too important to be sacrificed to a filthy big coal mine.

“If it went ahead, the project would mine 120m tonnes of coal over 25 years - this is utterly inconsistent with the South Korean ruling party’s new policy.

“It’s clear the South Korean parent company has read the writing on the wall, so why does the Australian arm of KEPCO continue to inflict distress upon local landholders?”

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