Macquarie pipeline opponents vow to continue the fight against the project and look for legal avenues of appeal despite the federal government’s approval.
Orange and Region Water Security Alliance spokesperson Paul Wettin said it was a “sad day” for the people of Orange.
“I do not think there is any intention from the alliance to give up the game,” he said.
Orange Ratepayers Association member Cyril Smith said there was hope the project might be sunk if Minister for the Environment , Health and Water Mark Butler intervenes.
“There were a number of petitions sent to the House of Reps to Mark Butler but there is still no reply,” he said.
“We would consider the minister himself would have to approve the project, we don’t accept that the department’s approval is final.”
There is still no word on whether the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) launched an investigation into the state approval two months ago.
But Mr Smith thinks there could be another twist in the approval process, despite saying the association and the alliance had nothing to do with the complaint.
Member for Dubbo Troy Grant said he had referred the Planning Assessment Commission’s approval to the ICAC.
The Friends of the Macquarie group are concerned Paul Forward, chairman of a recent PAC pipeline meeting, is also a principal at advisory firm Evans and Peck, which did a pipeline costings review for Orange City Council in 2011.
However, in a statement issued to the group in June the PAC said the work undertaken by Evans and Peck occurred before Mr Forward’s appointment to the commission, and that Mr Forward was not aware his company had provided costings.
Orange City Council spokesman Allan Reeder said council would be following all pipeline conditions to the letter and there would be layers of independent assessment to ensure council complied.
He said funding might not be granted if council did not comply.
Mr Smith believes the approval process should be reviewed.
“The money was secured during election times and once the money is there it is difficult to evaluate the project,” he said.