Anglesea residents are extremely disappointed by the Essential Services Commission’s decision to grant Alcoa’s Anglesea brown coal mine and power station a license to pollute.
The decision potentially paves the way for the sale of the coal mine and power plant, which was previously only permitted to power the Point Henry smelter, due to close in August 2014.
A group of concerned residents, Surf Coast Air Action (SCAA) has condemned the Essential Services Commission’s decision and call on the Victorian government to intervene.
“The Essential Services Commissions’ decision is illegitimate. Those responsible for this decision never visited Anglesea. No effort has been made to meet with us and understand our concerns,” says Regina Gleeson, SCAA spokesperson.
SCAA call on the energy minister, Russell Northe, to immediately intervene and to void the license until community consultation has been conducted.
SCAA are urging the Victorian energy minister to commission independent research into the risks of coal mine fire, ground movement and public health from the continued operation of the facility.
The Alcoa-owned coal plant emits three-times more Sulphur Dioxide (a serious respiratory irritant) than the notoriously polluting Hazelwood power station in Victoria’s Latrobe Valley, despite Hazelwood producing 10 times the electricity output of Anglesea.
The power plant operates just 550 metres from homes and 1.2 kilometres from a primary school.
“With the Point Henry smelter closing in a few months, there’s no social license for this polluting coal power plant to continue operating,” says Anglesea resident and SCAA spokesperson Regina Gleeson.
SCAA has already written to potential buyers of the plant to warn them about the community’s concerns and their strong preference to retire the plant and remediate the mine.