Submission in response to the Draft Protection of the Environment Operations (Clean Air) Regulation 2022

Informed by our work providing legal advice and representation to the community for over two decades on air pollution issues, Environmental Justice Australia (EJA) is concerned that in its current form, the draft Clean Air Regulation fails to properly address major inadequacies in the way that air pollution from industry, such as coal fired power stations, is regulated in NSW.

Coal fired power stations are the single most significant controllable source of air pollution in
NSW. Burning coal for electricity generation emits a broad range of pollutants that impact
health. Pollutants of most concern include nitrogen oxides (NOx), sulphur dioxide (SO2),
particulates – including fine particles (PM2.5) and course particles (PM10) and mercury. As
correctly noted in the Regulatory Impact Statement (RIS) for the draft Clean Air Regulation,
there is no safe concentration threshold for exposure to PM10 or PM2.5 at which adverse health effects have not been observed. Put simply, there is no level of air pollution at which
exposure does not cause or contribute to adverse health impacts, including premature

Despite this, the draft Clean Air Regulation makes virtually no attempt to substantially reduce
the emissions of these pollutants from one of their major sources – coal fired power stations.
The regulation of air pollution from coal fired power stations in NSW falls well below
international standards and the draft Clean Air Regulation fails to rectify this situation.