Power stations could reduce their toxic pollution by 85%

Right now, power station licences are being reviewed in New South Wales and Victoria. We hope you’ll work with us to push for stricter pollution controls.

Already, hundreds of people in the Latrobe Valley and Melbourne have made submissions and attended meetings and workshops to communicate their support for stronger pollution controls for the Loy Yang A, Loy Yang B and Yallourn power stations. All eyes are on Victoria’s Environment Minister Lily D’Ambrosia. Will she direct generators to install readily available pollution controls?

Now the New South Wales Government is reviewing pollution licences for the Vales Point, Eraring and Mt Piper power stations. These clunkers are currently licenced to emit toxic pollutants at concentrations that wouldn’t be allowed in other countries.

This is an important opportunity to reduce toxic pollution and improve community health.

Our research has revealed a massive difference between pollution laws in Australia and other countries. Coal-fired power stations in the United States, Europe and Japan must keep their NOx emissions (oxides of nitrogen) below 100 milligrams per cubic metre. But all five NSW power stations can emit concentrations of NOx up to 1500 mg/m3. That’s 15 times higher than power stations in other countries. The Stanwell power station in Central Queensland can legally emit NOx at up to 2800mg/m3!

Flue Gas Desulfurisation, Selective Catalytic Reduction and activated carbon injection dramatically reduce emissions of sulfur dioxide, oxides of nitrogen and mercury. Read EJA’s fact sheet on these pollution controls.

By controlling air pollution, we improve community health. Oxides of nitrogen worsen allergies and asthma and reduce lung function, even at low concentrations. By installing pollution controls that are standard practice internationally, generators can reduce those emissions by 85% or more, improve community health and slash Australia’s annual $2.6 billion health bill. Pollution control also creates employment and stimulates the economy.

Controlling air pollution from power stations improves health as far as 200 kilometres away. More than half of Sydney’s NOx pollution and 87% of the city’s sulfur dioxide pollution comes from power stations. Millions of Australians could breath cleaner air.

We don’t have much time. Submissions on the Vales Point, Mt Piper and Eraring power stations are due on 24 December, 1 January and 6 January respectively. EJA asked the NSW EPA for a 2-month extension to avoid the summer holiday, but that wasn’t granted.

We’ve set up this user-friendly online submission. Please take a moment to send the NSW Government a submission to support pollution control. We’ll also set up meetings with the energy and environment ministers, other parliamentarians and with community groups. We hope you’ll get involved.

If you’re ready to help control pollution, please fill in this brief survey. The survey can be completed on our website, and it asks just six questions:

  • Which state do you live in?
  • Which power station/s are you closest to?
  • What are your specific concerns about the impacts of coal-fired power stations?
  • How can you help these reviews result in stronger pollution control? (Eg. Do you have specific skills or connections that may be useful? Would you be willing to make a submission, or host an information night?)
  • What previous interactions have you had with environment and energy ministers in your state?
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