Total failure: tougher controls needed as coal-related pollutants jump

Our air pollution campaign team is holding workshops in communities close to Australia’s largest, most polluting power stations.

We were in the Latrobe Valley on 23 March and the Hunter Valley on 29 March. Our next community workshop will be in Wyong on the NSW Central Coast on Wednesday 19 April. Register here.

These workshops are a terrific opportunity to hear people’s experiences and concerns, and to share knowledge about air pollution, health impacts and legal remedies.

Already, we’re learning so much. In Muswellbrook, we were joined by AGL’s Rob Cooper and Shaun Green, who answered questions about the company’s plans to close the ageing Liddell power station in 2022, and how they estimate toxic emissions each year.

In Moe, discussion focused on the imminent closure of the Hazelwood power station. Very few participants in either workshop thought the power companies were doing enough to minimise toxic emissions, or that the EPAs in Victoria and NSW were doing all they could to regulate and control pollution.

Our team was quick to analyse this year’s National Pollutant Inventory, which reports the pollution from coal-fired power stations, coal mines and export facilities – the leading sources of particle pollution, sulphur dioxide and oxides of nitrogen.

We found coarse particle (PM10) emissions from many coal mines in the Hunter Valley had continued to increase, defying NSW Government programs like Dust Stop. Power stations including Loy Yang B, Tarong, Gladstone and Bayswater reported increased fine particle (PM2.5) emissions.

Our analysis was reported widely, featuring on page 1 of The Age, page 3 of the Sydney Morning Herald, page 7 of the Newcastle Herald, SBS, the Singleton Argus and more.

Take action

Learn more about power stations, toxic emissions, health impacts and your legal rights by downloading EJA’s fact sheets here.

If you live near the NSW power stations, learn about their licence conditions by downloading the Environmental Protection Licences for Bayswater, Liddell, Vales Point, Eraring and Mt Piper. Contact the companies or NSW EPA if you feel these conditions are inadequate or they’re being ignored.

Like our Facebook page for regular updates on air pollution and community action.

Be sure to drop us a line with questions and insights regarding air pollution problems and remedies.

James, Nicola and Bronya

Clean Air Campaign Team

Environmental Justice Australia

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