Margaret River coal project denied by the EPA

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has knocked backed the Vasse Coal project in Western Australia’s Margaret River region following a board meeting yesterday.

The EPA said that the coal mine would pose a risk to nearby aquifers.

“In effect, this is an EPA ’no’ to the proposal,” EPA chairman Paul Vogel said.

In a release, the EPA stated that "the board considered that there is likely to be significant impacts, or risks, from the proposal on the Leederville and Sues Aquifers, and on significant environmental values, including the social surrounds of the Margaret River region, which these aquifers support.

"Even though some of the significant impacts, or risks, may be presented as being manageable because of their low probability of occurring, the environmental consequences of some low probability event may be so serious, widespread or irreversible that the proposal, taken as a whole, on balance, presents unacceptable risks to important environmental values, and thus makes the proposal environmentally unacceptable."

WA Premier Colin Barnett supported the decision, saying that despite the fact that the mine was never appropriate the Government ensured that due process was followed, according to The West.

Local community group No COALition welcomed the EPA’s decision, and is now aiming to buy the land back from the Vasse Coal project owners LD Operations.

The miner is considering its right to appeal the decision.

However, according to the EPA, “based on its experience and knowledge of the complexity of matters of this kind, the Board also formed the view that more detailed and longer assessment would not alter the position.”

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