This afternoon, the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) has determined that leading environment group Environment Victoria has legal standing to bring their challenge to the EPA’s approval of a proposed new coal-fired power station in Victoria.
The standing of Environment Victoria and other organisations challenging the approval of the power station was challenged by the proponents of the proposed power station, Dual Gas, a subsidiary of company HRL.
VCAT will not make a decision as to the standing of other challengers including Local’s Into Victoria’s Environment, Doctor’s for the Environment Australia and Mr. Martin Shield until the end of the hearing.
Victoria McKenzie-McHarg, Safe Climate Campaigner at Environment Victoria said:
“Today’s decision by VCAT is a great early win for environmentalists. The decision that Environment Victoria has this right to stand up for our environment through the courts confirms the important role that environmental groups play in the community.
“We now look forward to getting on with our case, and proving that new coal-fired power stations can’t possibly be seen as ‘best practice’ technology in this day and age, when genuinely clean alternatives are on the table and ready to go.
“We are hopeful that the other community organisations and Mr. Martin Shield who are challenging the EPA approval of the HRL proposal will also be successful in the determination of their standing. It’s essential that community groups have the ability to challenge such major developments with significant environmental and health impacts.”
Felicity Millner, Principal Solicitor for the Environment Defenders Office, lawyers for Environment Victoria said:
“This case will test how Victoria’s laws will deal with proposals that will emit large amounts of greenhouse gases, an important issue for all Victorians. We are delighted that VCAT has recognized that the community ought to have a voice when issues such as this are determined.”
The VCAT hearing is expected to continue for another three weeks.
For further comment:
Victoria McKenzie-McHarg, Environment Victoria: 0428 480 409 or 0427 766 855
Felicity Millner, Environment Defenders Officer: 0427 766 855