Huge turnout sends clear message to Alcoa and potential purchasers
More than 500 people gathered today on Anglesea beach to create a human sign spelling out the community’s demand that Alcoa’s polluting Anglesea brown coal mine and power plant be shut down and rehabilitated.
SHUT IT DOWN was spelt across the sand with human bodies – creating a powerful symbol of the local community’s overwhelming desire to close the polluting and dangerous coal mine and power station.
The event was organised by Anglesea based community group Surf Coast Air Action (SCAA).
Surf Coast Air Action have been urging the Victorian Energy Minister Russell Northe to intervene and to commission independent research into the risks of public health, coal mine fire and ground movement from the continued operation of the Anglesea facility.
“The huge turnout today on a cold mid-winter morning reinforces just how concerned the Surf Coast community is about Alcoa’s toxic emissions” said SCAA spokesperson and Anglesea resident Dr Jacinta Morahan “This issue is not going to go away and the campaign will continue for as long as it takes to finally free the Surf Coast from coal mining and combustion”.
“I’ve lived in Anglesea for 30 years” said SCAA spokesperson Mark Smith. “The change since the closure of the Point Henry smelter was announced has been remarkable. There is now an overwhelming view in the community that there’s no social licence for this polluting coal pit and power plant to continue producing dirty power for an already over supplied electricity market”.
“People come to Anglesea and the Great Ocean Road for their natural beauty and recreational opportunities; not to see a coal mine and power station” said local resident, tourism operator and SCAA spokesperson Regina Gleeson. “The damage that Alcoa’s redundant facility does to the Surf Coast’s brand is incalculable.”
Figures recently released by the National Pollutant Inventory reveal that the Alcoa-owned Anglesea coal plant:
• Emits particulates (a recognized carcinogen), Sulphur Dioxide (a serious respiratory irritant) as well as Arsenic, Lead and Mercury; and
• Is the equal third highest emitter of Sulphur Dioxide in Australia (39,000,000 kg per annum).
The only power plants in Australia emitting more Sulphur Dioxide than Alcoa Anglesea (Bayswater in the Hunter Valley [63,000,000 kg] and Loy Yang in the Latrobe Valley [49,000,000 kg]) produce 17.6 and 14.7 times more electricity than Anglesea respectively.
Even the old and notoriously polluting Hazelwood power plant in the Latrobe Valley emits only 1/3 of the Sulphur Dioxide emitted by the Anglesea facility, despite producing 10 times the power output.
The Anglesea power plant operates just 550 metres from homes and 1.2 kilometres from the local primary school.
Community surveying in Anglesea has revealed that 82% of those surveyed want the mine and power plant shut down and rehabilitated, with the remainder almost evenly split between undecided or against closure.
22 June 2014