NSW Land and Environment Court dismisses Gloucester Resources's Rocky Hill Mine appeal

We won: Gloucester residents celebrate the decision to refuse the approval of the Rocky Hill coal mine. Photo Anne Keen
We won: Gloucester residents celebrate the decision to refuse the approval of the Rocky Hill coal mine. Photo Anne Keen

We won! Gloucester resident, Karen OBrien screamed as she heard the news delivered by the NSW Land and Environment Court.

Chief Justice of the Land and Environment Court, Brian Preston handed down his decision to dismiss the Gloucester Resources Limited appeal against Department of Planning and Environments (DPE) refusal of the development application for its Gloucester coal mine.

Karen was joined at her home by other concerned Gloucester residents on Friday morning (February 8) as they waited for Groundswell Gloucester president, Julie Lyford to call with the news.

We won on all counts, Julie said, when she called at 9.39am. Including climate change!

The group, which included residents living closest to the proposed mine site, erupted in cheers of joy, some even with tears of joy, as they celebrated the end of a 10 year battle against the proposed Rocky Hill Coal Project.

Members of Groundswell made the journey to Sydney in the early hours of the morning in order to be present for the landmark decision. Most were in shock as they heard Justice Preston announce that GRLs development application for the Rocky Hill Coal Project should be refused.

Justice Preston said the Rocky Hill coal mine would increase global greenhouse gas emissions at a time when what is now urgently needed ... is a rapid and deep decrease in GHG emission.

In short, an open cut coal mine in this part of the Gloucester valley would be in the wrong place at the wrong time, he said in his judgment.

For Karen, who has been fighting against the project for over 10 years with Julie, the decision has brought a sense of relief, along with a bit of hesitation.

Ive been in this state before, Karen explained as she recalled the numerous wins in the past that she believed would see the end of the project.

I'm worried they (GRL) might appeal the decision, she said. Theyve told me they wont stop until it gets approved.

Im hoping this is the end but I thought the DPE decision was.

Celebrations have been taking place in many locations, with Gloucester Knitting Nanna, Carol Bennett hearing the decision while holidaying on the coast.

I just cant believe the news, Carol said. I cant express the joy that justice has prevailed.

So many people will get their lives back. Its been over 10 years.

Former Gloucester Shire councillor, James Hooke was also thrilled to hear the news.

The division in town will finally be over, James said. And we can move on.

Comment has been sought from Gloucester Resources Limited.