Have your say: plans for more toxic ash dumps in the Latrobe Valley

AGL plans to massively expand its coal ash dumps in the Latrobe Valley – exposing the community to toxic coal waste for almost another 20 years.

Until 17th March, you can have your say and call on the Victorian EPA to reject this proposal.

These dumps would be huge – six times larger than the MCG – but AGL hasn’t given any reason for building dumps that size to last that long.

We have serious concerns about the impacts of AGL’s proposal on the local community and environment, like:

  • Health risks from exposure to toxic heavy metals found in coal ash dumps like mercury, lead and arsenic
  • Contamination of groundwater and the local environment
  • Poor management and monitoring of coal waste dumps
  • AGL’s patchy track record on environmental damage

The Latrobe Valley community should not have to deal with the ongoing impacts of coal on their health, the air they breathe, and the local environment. AGL’s plans don’t stack up for the community, the environment, nor in the context of Victoria’s plans to phase out coal within 12 years.

Have your say by 17th March and call on the EPA to reject AGL’s toxic proposal.

We’ve written a basic email template to get you started – but the most impactful submissions are ones that are unique. You could start by introducing yourself, sharing why this matters to you personally, and stating your opposition. Then, you might like to expand on any of the points in the template with the information below. Remember to be firm, but respectful, and make your opposition clear!

Email guide

General tips

  • Begin by introducing yourself, where you live, and why you’re making a submission against the proposal.
  • State your opposition clearly.
  • Be firm, concise, and respectful in your tone.

Health concerns

  • Coal ash is a highly toxic waste product. It contains concentrated versions of harmful heavy metals such as mercury, lead, selenium, cadmium, radium, and fine particle pollutions.
  • Exposure to these substances via coal air pollution is linked to serious health issues like cancer, respiratory issues, and asthma in children.
  • There is insufficient research on the impacts of exposure to these substances via coal ash dumps in Australia, however research from the United States documents catastrophic harm caused to communities who live near coal ash dumps through poorly constructed and managed coal ash dams.

Environmental harm

  • The EPA must not approve anything less than the best available techniques for constructing and managing ash dumps.
    AGL should be required to properly investigate  has no real plans  to re-use or recycling ofe the coal ash, which is preferable to storing it as waste.
  • Risk of contaminating local waterways and environmentIn the past, coal ash dumps in the Latrobe Valley have leaked and caused toxic contamination and environmental harm to groundwater, rivers, forests and air.
  • In 2001, the EPA issued Loy Yang with a clean-up notice for a groundwater contamination plume, caused by a leak from the coal ash dump that sits above it.
  • AGL’s plans to massively expand its coal ash dumps in the Latrobe Valley is inconsistent with AGL’s plans for closure by 2035 and the government’s renewable energy target of ending coal by 2035.

Management of coal ash dumps

  • Coal ash is so toxic, these dumps must be properly engineered, managed, monitored – and rehabilitated
  • The EPA has track record of letting AGL get away with poor management and not cleaning up. The EPA and the operators have consistently failed to reduce and clean up existing coal ash contamination, and have failed to introduce better standards to prevent future contamination.
  • Coal ash waste is difficult to safely dispose of, causing more harm down the track. The full extent of contamination problems often become clear decades after power stations close and the community is left to clean up the mess.

AGL’s poor track record on environment

  • AGL has recorded several recent instances of environmental harm
  • From 2017-2022, 19 events where AGL breached or potentially breached its licence conditions were identified by AGL, including relating to dust, odour, noise, leachate runoff, and inappropriate management of fuels and waste
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