The Bylong Valley Protection Alliance (BVPA), represented by the Environmental Defenders Office, has successfully defended the Independent Planning Commission’s (IPC) refusal to approve a brand new coal mine on prime agricultural land in the Bylong Valley, NSW.
Korean company KEPCO, which systematically purchased vast tracts of land in the valley, has failed in its bid to overturn the IPC’s decision in the NSW Land and Environment Court.
The Court rejected KEPCO’s appeal against the IPC decision to refuse the mine on a number of grounds, including its contribution to climate change.
As the Government chose to take no active role in the proceedings, the community was left to defend the IPCs decision. Without the Environmental Defenders Office (EDO) to represent them, it’s likely KEPCO’s challenge would have taken place without any active contradictor. Today’s decision highlights the importance of community legal centres like the EDO in ensuring the base concepts of legal equality and access to justice.
The IPC’s findings, that the mine was contrary to the principles of ecologically sustainable development and would have detrimental impacts on groundwater, agricultural land and aesthetic, scenic, heritage and natural values, still stands.
The September 2019 IPC ruling also found that the climate impacts of the coal from the mine were “problematical” after hearing expert evidence on the global carbon budget.