An update on our NPI legal complaints

In April we released our analysis of the National Pollutant Inventory (NPI) data that revealed a serious health threat from huge increases in toxic pollution at Vales Point and Yallourn power stations.  

You and hundreds of other community members added your name to our coalition of health, environment and community groups, to lodge legal complaints with the NSW and Victorian EPAs calling for investigations into these shocking increases in dangerous pollution.  

Hundreds of people across Australia added their names and made our coalition stronger. We made sure the EPA heard our calls for an urgent investigation. Thank you for speaking out! 

Here’s a quick update on where things are at and how the EPAs have responded to our complaints. 

Vales Point power station, New South Wales 

When we let the NSW EPA know that hundreds of you had joined the call for an investigation, we included new analysis on Vales Point from Bruce Buckheit, environmental consultant and former director of the USA EPA Air Enforcement Division.  

An international expert, Bruce analysed the NPI results for Vales Point and determined that the steep rise in emissions of toxic PM2.5 was likely caused by Delta Electricity’s failure to maintain, control and operate the plant in a proper and efficient manner, which is in breach of its licence. 

The NSW EPA wrote to us this week to acknowledge Bruce Buckheit’s analysis and inform us that an investigation of alleged offences at Vales Point is now underway. 

We are pleased that the NSW EPA has agreed to investigate but the record of pollution compliance and enforcement in NSW isn’t great. 

We must keep up the pressure and ensure the investigation is thorough and comprehensive. 

Yallourn power station, Victoria  

The Victorian EPA has notified us that they will not be conducting any further investigation of alleged offences at Yallourn power station.  

EnergyAustralia reported an extraordinary 82 percent increase in dangerous PM2.5 fine particle pollution at Yallourn on the previous year. It is deeply concerning that the EPA doesn’t think this warrants further investigation.  

PM2.5 air pollution is extremely dangerous to human health. Communities in Victoria deserve answers and assurance that their health will be protected.  

This decision from the EPA highlights a problem in Victoria’s compliance and enforcement regime. How can we be sure that power station pollution is being regulated effectively if these results from the NPI are not treated seriously? 

It’s vital we keep up the pressure on our governments to take air pollution seriously. 

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