Blog | 5th Nov, 2009

Cracks appear in coal industry’s expansion plans

Well it’s been a pretty crazy past three weeks on the climate campaign trail. While globally climate negotiations in the lead up to the Copenhagen climate meeting in December are struggling, in Victoria we have been deluged with news stories about state government and business proposals to massively expand our coal industry.

The news stories have followed some brilliant investigative journalism by The Age newspaper.
Environment Victoria has been fighting the good fight over the past three weeks highlighting the lunacy of coal industry expansions and ensuring that the stories are widely picked up across all media outlets. And it appears that the movement might have a win on the way with Exergen’s proposal to export brown coal likely to be put on the backburner.

The Age’s powerful stories, community campaigning including a rally on the steps of Parliament which involved many of you (organised by Environment Victoria along with a number of other environment and climate action groups), and a letter to the Premier from a number of scientists and community leaders (check out the letter here ) seem to be swaying the Brumby Government towards rejecting the Exergen proposal. As The Age reported on Tuesday,“a highly placed government insider confirmed that at a forthcoming meeting cabinet would consider a ''strategic allocation'' of coal to Exergen. But the source said cabinet would refuse it”. 

CHECK OUT THE AGE'S ARTICLE: $10,000 to sit next to Brumby

While this is a positive development, we understand that no final decision has been made and even if we are successful in delaying the Exergen project there is still a proposal on the table to begin a tender process for the remaining 13 billion tonnes of unallocated coal.

Other important stories that have emerged over recent weeks that we’ve played a part in include The Age’s revelation that Victorian taxpayers have given Alcoa $4.5 billion in subsidies over the past two decades to reduce their electricity bills and a story today that Latrobe Valley coal generators want to get their hands on the remaining water in the Latrobe River despite the fact that they already have access to 125 billion litres per year.  We’re working hard on the Gippsland Sustainable Water Strategy to ensure that this doesn’t happen and that this water is instead used to provide a n environmental flow to the Latrobe River and Gippsland Lakes.


Testing our mettle

Smelters costing us $4.5 billion

Fury over coal giants' water bid

We know that many people have found these stories, and the apparent level of climate change denial that is behind such aggressive expansion plans, upsetting. For our part we’re very glad that the dirty politics of the coal industry is out in the open for all to see and get outraged by. The more scrutiny that our lopsided and dangerous energy policy gets the better – particularly in the lead up to 2010 state and federal elections.
In the meantime we need your help.

We need you to help us contact state cabinet ministers and tell them to reject plans to expand the coal industry

Send a message to key cabinet ministers now

Want more? Check out the case against further coal allocation

More still? Little progress has been made over the past decade in reducing Victoria’s reliance on polluting coal-fired electricity. Get the dirt here and check out our release