Tarago residents are pressuring the council to oppose a $600 million waste to energy plant proposal west of the town.
They are also angry that the state government has identified an area near Tarago as suitable for more such infrastructure. It is among four precincts throughout NSW.
Tarago and District Progress Association Incorporate (TADPAI) president Adrian Ellson said the community was happy for Bungonia that plans for a similar facility on Jerrara Road had been scrapped.
The state's recently released Energy from Waste Infrastructure Plan effectively stopped its progression.
But it came too late for Veolia Environmental Services' plan for a plant within the Woodlawn eco-precinct.
"We are darned angry about this policy especially in light of the fact that State Environmental Planning Requirements (SEARS) were issued to Veolia on July 2," Mr Ellson said.
In June, in a formal response to Veolia's request for SEARS, the council argued they should not be issued until the State formed a firm policy on waste to energy technology. That policy was released on Thursday.
Tarago residents are now questioning why they are "less important" than the Bungonia community when it comes to the plants.
Rod Thiele has written to the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment insisting that the SEARS be withdrawn, given they were released before strategic policy work was completed.
"Failure to rectify this error would result in the Department providing advantage to Veolia by holding them to a different standard and an approval pathway denied to other proponents for the same development type at the same time in the same LGA," he wrote.
Mr Ellson has also written to Goulburn MP Wendy Tuckerman asking her to request the attorney general to withdraw the SEARS.
"I think they are invalid and should be recalled," he said.
He told The Post that residents almost universally opposed Veolia's proposal for the facility, to be located in its Woodlawn eco-precinct.
The Residents Against Tarago Incinerator Facebook group has sprung up and would shortly become a fully incorporated action group, Mr Ellson said.
The plant would burn up to 380,000 tonnes of residual waste feedstock. It would also thermally treat municipal residual, commercial and industrial waste and generate up to 39 megawatts of electricity.
In June, the council resolved that it did not support this kind of infrastructure generally. However it also called on the company to address multiple issues, including emissions, human and environmental health, odour, traffic and transport and social impact, if SEARS were issued.
Mayor Bob Kirk has rejected claims of "inconsistency" in the approach to the Bungonia and Tarago facilities. He said the former was fought on the grounds of permissability, given it was in a rural zone.
However Veolia's was proposed for an established industrial zone established 20 years ago. The Waste to Energy Infrastructure Plan dictates that they should be in industrial areas but also have community support.
But regardless of this, the mayor said the council would scrutinise the issues raised in June and respond accordingly. It was yet to see this detail.
"The council is not only me. I can only speak for myself that unless the health and safety of Tarago can be guaranteed by Veolia, I can't support it," Cr Kirk said.
"...(But) even if the council said it was opposed to waste to the Tarago plant, so what?...The crucial point is does the objection have merit. We need to see more detail to assess that."
Mr Ellson has branded this argument as "rubbish." He pointed to the infrastructure plan which stated that people could "still experience health impacts when emissions (were) below the national standards." It further states that "for some common air pollutants, there is no safe threshold of impact."
"I can't see what other position the council can adopt besides outright opposition," he said.
Veolia's CEO and managing director Richard Kirkman has stood behind the technology's emission safety and said it would not emit odour. He told The Post in March the company would not be proposing the plant unless it had "significant environmental and economic advantages."
Mr Ellson also accused the council of having a conflict of interest given it was seeking a $2 million grant from the Veolia Mulwaree Trust for Goulburn's Performing Arts Centre.
But Cr Kirk, a trust director, vehemently rejected this as "insulting" and said the matters were completely separate and discussions about the grant arose well before Veolia's plan surfaced. He said if the grant was not forthcoming, the council would borrow the $2m.
Councillors will discuss Veolia's plan further at their meeting on Tuesday.
Mr Ellson said Tarago was also concerned the precinct could open the way for more such facilities, as it extended to a ridgeline above the town. The Post has sought clarification from DPIE on this point and whether a limit on facility numbers would apply.
Overall, he argues the technology is not aligned with Australia's energy sustainability policy. Air quality, emissions and road impacts were also among major concerns.
"We want the council to strongly object to this waste incinerator," he said.
"The infrastructure policy states that they must have community acceptance. Well we are saying no and we think the council should too. If this is overridden then it should be taken to court."
Mr Kirkman previously said the company would undertake extensive consultation as part of the application.
We care about what you think. Have your say in the form below and if you love local news don't forget to subscribe.