'Intergenerational inequity': Bylong coal mine dead and buried

Intergenerational inequity: Bylong coal mine dead and buried

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The steep sandstone escarpment surrounding the Bylong Valley provides a dramatic setting for the latest land use conflict to flare over a coal mine in NSW.

The steep sandstone escarpment surrounding the Bylong Valley provides a dramatic setting for the latest land use conflict to flare over a coal mine in NSW.

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NSW planning authority says Kepco's coal project in the Upper Hunter would rob future generations

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After years of community opposition, the controversial plan to dig an open-cut coal mine in the Bylong Valley has been rejected by NSW government's independent planning authority.

The Independent Planning Commission (IPC) said Korean miner Kepco's project would load an unfair environmental burden on future generations.

Kepco's mine would also create unacceptable environmental impacts to farmland, groundwater, and the scenic value of the bucolic valley.

The IPC said the project would deliver an estimated $290 million of royalties to the present generation, it was an unfair impost on future generations.

"The Project is not in the public interest because it is contrary to the principles of ecologically sustainable development - namely intergenerational equity because the predicted economic benefits would accrue to the present generation but the long-term environmental, heritage and agricultural costs will be borne by the future generations," the IPC said.

An IPC decision cannot be appealed.

While a proponent holds an operating exploration licence it can reapply with a new project proposal, but it appears unlikely a miner would take the risk of going back to square one given the unfavourable coal market and global transition to renewable energy.

Lock the gate spokeswoman George Woods said the IPC was right to safeguard the Bylong Valley's assets.

"The Bylong Valley is a very special place, not just for the farmers that produce wool, beef, and fodder there, but for people around the state that recognise its extraordinary beauty and rich cultural and natural heritage," Ms Woods said.

"It was the wrong place for a coal mine, and this is the wrong time for NSW to be opening up new areas for coal exploitation as the world shifts away from coal in a bid to halt global warming."

Bylong Valley sheep farmer Phill Kennedy said was "over the moon" that the mine would not go ahead.

"This valley is hugely productive and stunningly beautiful. Thanks to this sensible decision, It's going to keep producing food and wool for New South Wales for a long time to come," Mr Kennedy said.

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Bylong Valley Protection Alliance campaigner Warwick Pearse said the decision could set a valuable precedent.

"It underlines the need to actually give legal protection for prime agricultural land. This farmland should never have been put at risk in the first place."

The Bylong mine would have disrupted the floodplain occupied by the historic Tarwyn Park property where Natural Sequence Farming was born.

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