1 March 2021
Vales Point Power Station, jointly owned by Trevor St Baker and Brian Flannery and operated by Delta Electricity, has been exempt from the more stringent ‘Group 5’ oxides of nitrogen (NOx) concentration emissions standards prescribed under the Protection of Environment (Clean Air) Regulation 2010 Vales Point since 1 January 2012. In effect, this means that since 2012, Vales Point can pollute more NOx than might otherwise be the case.
Oxides of nitrogen are known to have a range of negative health impacts, including causing asthma in children. The exemption has the effect of shifting the costs of NOx pollution from Vales Point to the local community, manifesting in poor health outcomes and ultimately costing the NSW taxpayer in the form of increased burden on the public health system.
In late December 2020, Delta Electricity lodged an application with the EPA to extend its existing exemption for a further 5-years. If the EPA decides to extend the exemption, Vales Point may be exempt from the tougher NOx emissions standards until 2027.
The EPA has not publicly published the application documents and initially indicated that it would not be undertaking formal public consultation.
EJA successfully applied to the EPA under the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 for a copy of the application. Together, with the Nature Conversation Council of NSW (NCC) and the Australian Conservation Foundation, we have since secured a commitment from the EPA to seek public submissions on the application. The details of when and how public consultation will occur are yet to be confirmed by the EPA. Stay tuned.