Knitting Nannas of Toolangi join SCAA for Anglesea coal vigil


Anglesea based community group Surf Coast Air Action (SCAA) has welcomed the support of the Knitting Nannas of Toolangi for the responsible closure and rehabilitation of Alcoa’s Anglesea coal mine and plant.

MEDIA RELEASE – 19 October 2014

The Knitting Nannas joined SCAA members for a short respectful vigil outside the coal plant gates on Sunday afternoon as huge volumes of steam swirled by blustery winds gave the vigil an other-worldly appearance at times.

“During the short vigil this afternoon the stack of the Anglesea coal plant emitted thousands of kilograms of the significant respiratory irritant sulphur dioxide.” said SCAA spokesperson and Anglesea resident Dr Jacinta Morahan. “It’s extraordinary that Alcoa and the State Government have repeatedly described the operation of the plant as safe and SCAA calls on them to immediately stop making these claims.”

“Anglesea residents are being kept completely in the dark about Alcoa’s attempts to sell its redundant coal plant.” said SCAA spokesperson and Anglesea resident of 30 years Mark Smith. “The facility has no social license after the closure of the Point Henry smelter and the quiet respectful Knitting Nannas were in stark contrast to the industrial coal plant which appeared to be running full pelt to make power that’s not required by the grid.”

“The Knitting Nannas are fighting important environmental battles of their own against destructive logging.” said SCAA spokesperson Andrew Laird. “We are touched and appreciative that they gave up their time this afternoon to help highlight the incongruity of a coal mine and plant on the iconic Great Ocean Road.”

Figures released by the National Pollutant Inventory earlier this year reveal that the Alcoa-owned Anglesea coal plant:

– Is the equal third highest emitter of sulphur dioxide (SO2) in Australia (39,000,000 kg per annum); and

– Also emits particulates (a recognized carcinogen) as well as Arsenic, Lead and Mercury.

The only power plants in Australia emitting more SO2 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 SO2 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.

The power produced by the Anglesea facility is no longer required due to the closure of the Alcoa Point Henry smelter, which the plant was constructed to feed. Notwithstanding this Alcoa has said that it intends to try to sell rather than close and rehabilitate the redundant facility.