Media Release from Surf Coast Air Action about the future of Alcoa Anglesea Power Station
Surf Coast Air Action has for many years encouraged and supported both Alcoa and the State Government to invest in currently available pollution reduction technology to clean up the old and polluting Anglesea coal mine and power station while transitioning toward clean and safe energy options to enable the ongoing operation of Alcoa’s Point Henry Smelter.
However, with today’s announcement, Alcoa has made it clear that it has no interest in ensuring Point Henry’s longevity by investing in clean energy solutions. In addition to walking away from the 550 loyal employees in Geelong, Alcoa has also announced that it plans to make any money where it can and sell its coal mine and power station in Anglesea. Alcoa has for 60 years relied on the goodwill of Anglesea residents, many of whom have, in order to support employment in Geelong, been prepared to pay with the cost of their health and the destruction of an otherwise pristine coastal environment.
“Alcoa plans to walk away from this community, sell up and disappear. Given that the Anglesea coal mine and power station will no longer support large scale industry and employment, neither Alcoa or any prospective buyer has the social licence to continue to operate one of this country’s most polluting power stations in such close proximity to our homes and school,” said Sally Groom, Anglesea parent and local resident.
Alcoa’s Anglesea coal mine and power station are less than a kilometre from homes and the local primary school. Harmful coal dust from the mine blows directly onto the town, as do numerous toxic emissions from Alcoa’s old and outdated power station.
“Amongst these harmful pollutants is the powerful respiratory irritant sulphur dioxide, which Alcoa’s Anglesea operations emit in amounts 3 times greater than Hazelwood, a notorious polluter 10 times larger than Anglesea Power Station. Fine dust particles or particulates from both the mine and power station pose a very real risk to health, with the World Health Organisation recently classifying them as carcinogenic.” said Dr Cameron Shaw, medical specialist and Anglesea resident.
Alcoa has applied to the Essential Services Commission for an electricity generation licence. In a recent supply demand snapshot from the Australian Energy Market Operator it was recorded that the Victorian energy market has no need for the 150MW generated from Anglesea, which has so far been used exclusively for Alcoa’s Point Henry smelter.
“Alcoa has made no effort to liaise with the local community regarding their recent licence application. The small number of jobs within the mine and power station cannot justify the continued harm caused to the health of Anglesea residents and visitors and the ongoing destruction of Anglesea Heath, a rare and heritage listed heathland of national significance.” said Regina Gleeson, local tourism operator and Anglesea resident.
“It is a disgrace that this international company is walking away from a commitment to workers in Geelong but is also seeking to profit by onselling the mine and power station. It is an abuse of the goodwill extended to Alcoa by the Anglesea community, who have for so many years tolerated a dangerous and polluting coal mine and power station at our back door in order to support workers in Geelong. Rather than trying to make some money and back away from their obligations to clean up the mess they have made, Alcoa should close their Anglesea operations and direct funds and employment toward a careful, thorough and responsible rehabilitation of the mine and power station site.” said Dr Jacinta Morahan, medical specialist and Anglesea resident.
To view a copy of Surf Coast Air Action’s submission to the Essential Services Commission regarding Alcoa’s electricity generating licence request please follow this link.
Press Contact: Jacinta Morahan, 0419 357 971