The announcement today that AGL has brought forward the closure of its Loy Yang A coal-fired power station by three years, to 2045, fails the Latrobe Valley community and will leave another generation susceptible to the serious health effects of toxic pollution, environmental lawyers say.
Environmental Justice Australia Lawyer Chloe Badcock said:
“For another 23 years, Loy Yang A will continue to release toxic air pollutants every day which cause higher rates of asthma in children, low birthweight babies, lung cancer, heart attacks and stroke,”
“Technology used widely around the world, proven to reduce emissions by up to 85 per cent, is not installed in Loy Yang A, and would significantly ease the health cost to everyone in the Latrobe Valley community while operations continue for another two decades.
“This announcement underscores the need for government, industry and community groups to work together now. Not only to urgently enact a plan to reduce the health burden on Latrobe Valley residents ahead of closure, but to give the community certainty as coal is inevitably phased out.”
Friends of Latrobe Water spokesperson Tracey Anton said:
“AGL’s announcement today creates new complications and anxieties for the Latrobe Valley community, underscoring the need for government and industry to work with us to ensure a just transition,”
“This includes support and funding to retrain workers to renewable industries but is also, importantly, about cleaning up contaminated land and toxic coal ash left in the wake of power stations which seep into rivers and groundwater.
“It is a responsibility of both the federal and state governments to work collaboratively with our community groups, and so we call on Gippsland MP Darren Chester to step up and fight for the Latrobe Valley to get the support it needs.”
Media contact: Kathryn Lewis, EJA media advisor, [email protected]