AMONG the impassioned pleas to reject Kepco’s Bylong Valley coal mine at Wednesday’s hearing, Newcastle’s John Hayes made a moral demand of the commissioners.
“I’m 73 and wearing a hat as a grandfather. I have eight grandchildren and would like to know what the planet will look like when they’re 73,” he said.
“We know that coal will be obsolete and we know we need to make the transition away from coal.
“Refusing this mine must be part of the transition. It is time for the planners to join the new age.”
Mr Hayes removed his hat.
Mr Hayes said he had lived in Newcastle for 14 years and no matter how you looked at it, all NSW’s coal ended up in Newcastle.
“It’s the world’s largest coal export terminal,” he said.
That was why he had problems with lack of regulation when it came to transporting coal.
“Coal trains pollute,” he said, and Bylong would create 20 train movements through Newcastle a day.
He said the only “regulation” that had been applied to those train movements was a requirement of Kepco to “count the trains and publish”.
The theme is transitioning away from coal continued with the Nature Conservation Council of NSW’s Keith Hart.
Mr Hart said in the the 19th Century slavery had been ended, in the 20th Century the health destroying issues of asbestos had been tackled.
“In the 21st Century it is time to end the burning of coal,” he said.
As the hearing made its way towards 1pm, there were fewer people speaking in support of the project.
Julia Imrie told the hearing Kepco’s modelling to help formulate its water management was “inherently objective”.
She said a complex range of variables made water management very difficult.