Add your name to this open letter and ask our new NSW government to put an end to years of lax pollution limits for coal-fired power stations

By email: [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]

5 April 2023

Dear Minister Ryan Park, Minister Penny Sharpe and Minister Jihad Dib, 

As residents from all corners of NSW, we are jointly calling on you, as the ministers responsible for our health, environment and energy, to take action to better protect our community after the latest national inventory on toxic air pollution shows that toxic mercury and particle pollution from power stations have increased for the second year in a row. 

We already know that air pollution in New South Wales is estimated to cause 603 premature deaths and increase health costs by $4.8bn each year, according to the Sydney Air Quality study released this year.

Now, Environmental Justice Australia has analysed the latest pollution data for the five coal-fired power stations in NSW and found an alarming increase in toxic substance emissions, including a steep rise in PM2.5 and PM10 particle pollution, and mercury.

Each year in Australia, toxic air pollution from coal worsens conditions such as asthma, emphysema, chronic bronchitis and other respiratory diseases. Children and older people are most vulnerable to the health impacts of toxic pollutants in the air. 

Coal-fired power stations are producing less electricity than ever before, but the pollution they pump out is skyrocketing. And more pollution means more health burdens on local communities. 

The technology to reduce this pollution exists and is used widely around the world, but shockingly, coal-fired power stations in Australia continue to operate without best-practice controls, exposing millions of Australians to unnecessary levels of toxic air pollution. 

Coal fired power stations like Vales Point have so far avoided having to substantially reduce their air pollution thanks to the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) granting it an exemption from tougher limits. With a brand new Labor government,  there’s an opportunity to hold big polluters accountable, and keep communities safe.   

We urge you to ensure air pollution is included in the Premier’s priorities, and that the NSW government commits to delivering meaningful reductions of toxic air pollution from coal fired power stations. This would push the NSW EPA to do more to tackle toxic air pollution, including by holding firm on legislated dates that require power stations to reduce their pollution and by requiring mandatory community consultation before granting any future exemptions. to operators like AGL and EnergyAustralia. 

Without these measures, power station owners will continue to ignore best-practice technologies for coal pollution, and the health of our community will pay the price. 

Thank you for hearing us, 

Yours faithfully 

The undersigned


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