The Bayswater coal-fired power plant in NSW emits more toxic sulfur dioxide (SO2) and oxides of nitrogen (NOx) than any other Australian power station, yet owner AGL plans to expand the facility without spending a cent on pollution-controlling technologies that are mandatory overseas.
“People in the community are gasping in disbelief that a massive corporation like AGL, which recently declared a $622 million half-year profit, would plan to expand this power station – and its profits – without installing readily available technologies to reduce pollution,” said Environmental Justice Australia lawyer Nicola Rivers.
“If the expansion goes ahead with no additional pollution controls, local communities will have plenty more reasons to gasp.
“Breathing in sulfur dioxide irritates the nose, throat and airways, causing coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath. It causes some people to suffer asthma attacks. Once released it reacts with other chemicals in the air and converts to PM2.5 which can cause heart attack, stroke and cancer.
“Not only does Bayswater emit more sulfur dioxide than any other Australian power station, it emits more SO2 than any power station or industrial facility in the whole of the United States.
“AGL is seeking approval to expand Bayswater’s capacity, which will allow the company to make more profit from burning the same amount of coal.
“However it is not proposing to spend a cent on upgrading its pollution controls to bring down its NOx and SO2 emissions.
“Bayswater has none of the post combustion pollution reduction technologies – wet scrubbers for SO2 and selective catalytic reduction for NOx that could bring down its toxic emissions by 95% – that would be required in most other countries around the world.
“These technologies have been available for decades and can be retrofitted to existing power stations.
“If it were located in the US, the proposal to expand Bayswater would have triggered the requirement for AGL to install these pollution controls, or shut down.
“If the EPA does not require these pollution controls in its assessment of Bayswater’s expansion plans, it is failing its duty to protect the community and the environment from environmental harm.
“A huge, profitable company like AGL should be required install these technologies, rather than being allowed to dump its pollution on local communities where we all have to pay the costs.”
See also: AGL misses clean break in $200m upgrade of Bayswater power plant (Sydney Morning Herald)