Getting Hazelwood rehab right

When the Hazelwood coal mine closed in 2017, it left behind giant hole and tonnes of toxic coal ash.

Now, the mine’s operator, Engie, must clean up the site. We have serious concerns that Engie wants to dodge its responsibility and cut corners on properly rehabilitating Hazelwood.

But before these plans can go ahead, Engie has to complete an assessment of any potential environmental impacts that could result. 

That involves a public submission process – which means we all have a critical opportunity to voice our concerns about the project and share what we believe Engie should do to properly assess the environmental impacts of its pit lake plan.

Public submissions on the Draft Scoping Requirements can be made until midnight, 10th May 2023. Anyone can make a submission – you don’t have to be an expert.

Find our easy-to-follow guide here, where you can learn to make an impactful submission in just 15 minutes.

What’s happening at Hazelwood?

The Latrobe Valley has powered our state for decades. But brown coal mining has left the Latrobe Valley with a toxic mess and enormous, unstable mine pits that need to be cleaned up.

Six years after Hazelwood power station closed in 2017, the company that operates the mine, Engie, is still working on plans to rehabilitate the mine site.

What are Engie’s plans so far?

Engie proposes to flood the mine pit – full of toxic coal ash left behind from the mine – with freshwater taken from the Latrobe River.

Filling such a huge hole would take more water than Sydney Harbour, and brings serious consequences for the Latrobe River system, Traditional Owners, the local community, and other industries in the region such as agriculture.

Why does this matter?

Hazelwood is the first mine to be rehabilitated in the Latrobe Valley, and its rehabilitation will set a precedent for the remaining mines in the Valley – which means we need to make sure it’s done right.

What are the draft scoping requirements?

Any plans Engie puts forward about rehabilitating the mine site must be assessed by the Victorian government. As part of this process, Engie must prepare an Environmental Effects Statement to outline the environmental impacts of its plan, and how those impacts could be mitigated.

Right now, the Victorian government is taking submissions on the ‘Draft Scoping Requirements’, which will outline the requirements Engie must follow when completing its assessment of environmental impacts.

The scoping requirements set the foundations for the entire environmental effects statement (EES) process that will take place over the coming year. Public submissions at this stage can ensure that Engie is required to make thorough assessments of its rehabilitation plans, including areas of concern they may have otherwise ignored. This means that the more of us who make submissions and raise our concerns, the stronger the entire assessment process will be.

Want to make a submission? Check out our guide on writing an impactful submission here.