Environment groups have expressed anger at a deal by coal company ‘Environmental Clean Technologies’ (ECT) to export up to 20 million tonnes of brown coal a year from Victoria.
Federal Resources Minister Simon Crean is expected to throw the federal government’s support behind the deal in Melbourne this afternoon.
Environment groups are dismayed at the federal government’s support for this polluting deal and have called an emergency protest outside the signing.
“This is a disastrous first action for the new Gillard Government. We’re calling on Prime Minister Gillard to take control on climate policy and withdraw the federal government’s support for a brown coal export industry” said Environment Victoria CEO Kelly O’Shanassy.
“Prime Minister Gillard has a difficult task ahead of her on climate change and it’s a worrying sign if one of the Gillard Government’s first announcements is to support a brown coal export industry” she said.
“If the project goes ahead, millions of tonnes of greenhouse pollution will be pumped into the atmosphere each year, and the Latrobe Valley’s necessary shift to a clean energy future will be delayed” said Ms O’Shanassy.
“This is precisely the wrong message for Australia to be sending ahead of this weekend’s G20 meeting where fossil fuel subsidies are on the agenda. We should be reducing our reliance on coal, not increasing it” said ACF Climate Change Program Manager Tony Mohr.
Friends of the Earth Campaign Coordinator Cam Walker said the company was misleading the Australian public by claiming they could make brown coal ‘clean’.
“Companies have been saying they can make brown coal clean since the early 1970’s yet there is no proven way to make brown coal environmentally friendly as claimed by ECT. This is pure greenwash” he said.
“Victoria’s brown coal is highly polluting and very inefficient. It is really disappointing and damaging to international climate efforts that the federal government is actively spruiking this dirty fuel on the world stage and attempting to lock developing countries into a polluting pathway” he concluded.
For comment contact:
Kelly O’Shanassy, Environment Victoria on 0421 054 402
Cam Walker, Friends of the Earth on 0419 338 047
Tony Mohr, Australian Conservation Foundation on 02 8270 9908 and 0408 806 206 or
For media assistance: Louise Matthiesson on 0417 017 844
Read about the last time we stopped the government’s exporting plans for brown coal in their tracks