A community meeting was held in the Anglesea Hall on April 20 2014. Invited speakers addressed the health, environmental and fire risks associated with the mine and power station.
In addition, there were presentations focusing on employment opportunities created when the mine and power station are shut down.
SURF COAST AIR ACTION MEDIA RELEASE:
Henderson supports tighter air emission standards raising questions about power station’s commercial viability
On Easter Sunday Federal Member for Corangamite Sarah Henderson joined in excess of 250 people at the Anglesea town hall to discuss the future of the Alcoa coal mine and power station.
With the imminent closure of the Point Henry smelter in Geelong, Alcoa has announced its intention to sell the Anglesea facility as a stand alone power generator feeding into the Victorian electricity grid.
Ms Henderson again questioned the public policy of continuing the mine and power station in light of the closure of Point Henry. She and Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt have met with local group Surf Coast Air Action and publically support a review of current air quality standards. She encouraged the community to “urge the government, state and federal, to expedite the review of air emissions standards. If you tighten air emissions standards it may also mean that a much tighter standard applies to the mine, again raising questions about its commercial viability.”
Currently available pollution reduction technology was also highlighted. The coal mined in Anglesea has 10 times the Sulphur content of that mined in the LaTrobe Valley. When this coal is burnt Sulphur Dioxide, a powerful respiratory irritant, is emitted in volumes 3 times that produced by Hazelwood, a power station 10 times the size. “Sulphur dioxide scrubbers will cost Alcoa about 160 million dollars and in my view they are essential. If this mine was in America it could not function. It would be prohibited. In urging Alcoa, or the third party that may buy this mine, to invest in Sulphur Dioxide scrubbing technology may mean that the mine is no longer commercially viable.”
Surf Coast Air Action spokesperson Dr Jacinta Morahan said “The massive attendance at this meeting clearly demonstrates the groundswell of concern within the Anglesea and Surf Coast community about the continued operation of an out of date and dangerously polluting coal mine and coal fired power station within a kilometre of our primary school and homes”
Greg Barber, leader of the Victorian Greens and Surf Coast Shire councillors Margot Smith and Heather Wellington, also attended the meeting. State member for Polwarth Terry Mulder declined Surf Coast Air Action’s invitation to attend the community discussion.
Lorraine Bull, resident of Morwell, gave a powerful presentation about the effects of the recent mine fire at the Hazelwood open cut mine.
“You do not want a fire similar to this burning for weeks in such close proximity to your town,” Lorraine said.
Madeleine Smith, a 23 year old Anglesea local and Medical student at Deakin University, challenged the meeting to picture the town in 2050 and to think carefully about what sort of a legacy they want to leave for their children and grandchildren.
“Unless towns like ours begin to take action cutting back on fossil fuels we face a very bleak future,” she said.
“We have the opportunity to send a clear message that we no longer want or need to rely on 19th Century technology to generate electricity.”
Photos for print in high resolution can be downloaded from www.surfcoast.airaction.org (A4 size in 300 dpi)
Video from the meeting
Video which was screened at the meeting
What can I do?
What can we do to make a difference – from Regina Gleeson’s presentation
Ultimately, we all have to work together to change the future.
- buy a sticker
- buy a t-shirt
- put a sign on your fence
- hand out postcards
- keep up to date and respond to SCAA’s website
- sign the online petition
- complete the online community survey “Now that Alcoa is leaving Anglesea, do you think that the coal mine and power station should be shut down?“
- come to the next SCAA meeting and contribute your skills and knowledge – Monday April 28 2014, 7pm, Anglesea Community House, McMillan Street
- join the Facebook discussion – search Surf Coast Air Action
- Help to organise a Human Sign – details to follow
Change happens when we Raise Community awareness and create political change.
We need to do both.
Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time.
We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.
We are the ones seeking change