HRL submitted their application for a works approval on the 20th July 2010, however withdrew the application days later when they realised that their proposed coal-fired power station would fail to meet the Victorian Government’s new standard for electricity generators of 0.8 tonnes of greenhouse pollution per MWh.
HRL then resubmitted their application to the EPA in September with a new method of measuring their pollution levels, which they claim falls within the standard.
Under the Environment Protect Act, the EPA has four months to approve or deny the application, however they have ‘stopped the clock’ by requesting further information from HRL regarding the technology to be used at the power station, and noise and air impacts of the power station. The EPA has also requested a triple bottom line assessment of the project from HRL which will examine the environmental, social and economic impacts of the proposed power station.
Environment Victoria is pleased that the EPA appears to be undertaking a rigorous assessment of the proposed new coal-fired power station. However, Environment Victoria remains concerned that the project has still not been rejected by the EPA.
Further, Environment Victoria believes that the EPA should reject the proposal based upon the guiding principles of the Environment Protection Act including, but not limited to, the precautionary principle, the principle of intergenerational equity and the principle of accountability – that the aspirations of the people of Victoria for environmental quality should drive environmental improvement.
The EPA received approximately 4,000 submissions from the community regarding the HRL works approval application. All but 13 of these were in opposition to the proposal. This is the highest number of submissions the EPA has ever received, and is a strong indication of the high level of community concern regarding the proposal.
If the EPA is to uphold the guiding principles of the Environment Protection Act, and ensure that new electricity generation in Victoria meets true best practice then they should reject the HRL works approval for a new coal-fired power station.