The legal battle against a new coal-fired power station planned for Victoria’s Latrobe Valley took a worrying turn this afternoon in a hearing at the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal in Melbourne.
Project proponents, HRL Ltd, are attempting to silence environment groups who have lodged a legal appeal against the proposal.
Lawyers for HRL Ltd told the Tribunal they are challenging Environment Victoria’s legal right to appeal against the development. HRL Ltd is also challenging the legal standing of the other appellants – Doctors for the Environment, local climate action group LIVE and an individual.
“Trying to have environmentalists and doctors struck out of the proceedings raises a very serious question – why is HRL trying to avoid scrutiny of their project? What have they got to hide?” said Environment Victoria’s safe-climate campaigner Victoria McKenzie-McHarg.
“HRL Ltd is trying to avoid public scrutiny by silencing its critics.”
“Environment Victoria has been fighting to protect our environment for over forty years, it’s shocking that this company is questioning our right to stand up against big polluters.”
“If it wasn’t for environment groups taking action in court, Fraser Island would have been dug up for sand mining, the forests of Brown Mountain in East Gippsland would have been logged, and many of Australia’s other natural treasures would have been lost.”
The full case will be heard at VCAT starting Monday, 24 October 2011.
Victoria McKenzie-McHarg, Environment Victoria 0428 480 409