Media release

ALP foreshadows protecting communities from power station pollution by pledging to set world’s-best health standards

February 01, 2019

Pressure is now on the Berejiklian government to tighten power station pollution licences to protect human health after State Labor pledged to review emissions standards to “ensure they meet world-class standards”. [1]

The pledge comes after the NSW Environment Protection Agency re-issued licences permitting the Vales Point, Mt Piper and Eraring power stations to continue emitting higher levels of coal pollution than permitted in most developed nations. [2]

“We applaud Labor’s pledge to protect the health of local communities by making big power companies clean up their dirty coal-fired power stations,” EJA Director of Advocacy and Research Nicola Rivers said.

“We are now calling on Premier Berejiklian to do the right thing and order the EPA to strengthen the pollutions licences that allow these energy giants to put people’s health at risk.

“The health of communities in the Hunter, Central Coast and Lithgow and the Sydney region have suffered too long while big energy companies make mega profits from their dirty polluting power plants.”

Thousands of citizens, union representatives and health and legal experts have been calling for the NSW EPA to use scheduled licence reviews to make coal-fired power stations install available pollution controls to protect community health.

Coal-fired power stations release more than 30 toxic pollutants and are the single biggest source of dangerous sulfur dioxide (SO2) oxides of nitrogen (NOx) and fine particle pollution (PM2.5) in Australia.

Currently, Vales Point, Mt Piper and Eraring power stations do not have pollution controls fitted that that limit toxic pollutants by more than 85 per cent and are standard in Europe, the U.S. and China.

Nature Conservation Council CEO Kate Smolski said: “The Berejiklian government continues to prioritise the profits of polluters ahead of human health and the environment.

“The NSW ALP have now shown a clear point of difference between the two major parties in addressing air pollution from our aging dirty coal fleet.

“The Premier must order that these licences be reviewed to make the owners of these dirty coal-burning power plants comply with world’s best practice.”

[1] Sydney Morning Herald, 31/1/2019 ‘Blue in the face’: NSW power plants in Labor’s electoral sights
[2] NSW EPA decision on coal-fired power station licence review


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