Environment Victoria has called on the State Government to set a firm timeline to replace Hazelwood power station after fears of a landslip at the Hazelwood coal mine caused the closure of the Princess Highway in Gippsland this morning.
“This incident raises grave concerns about the safety of the Hazelwood mine and the viability of the ageing power station which is the dirtiest in the country and has repeatedly breached its pollution limits” said Campaigns Director Mark Wakeham.
“Right now, the primary concern is the safety of workers and residents in the vicinity of the mine, but once this crisis has passed the Government needs to establish a timeline to replace the outdated power station.”
“The risk of subsidence was raised as a major issue by Environment Victoria and others in 2006 when the decision was made to expand Hazelwood mine.”
“Serious questions must also be asked about the proposal to build a new coal-fired power station, HRL Dual Gas, less than 1km from the north wall of the mine. The new power station would burn coal from the Hazelwood mine.”
“The EPA should halt any decision making process on HRL until the full extent of subsidence at Hazelwood becomes clear.”
“The Coalition must rethink its hands-off approach to the future of Hazelwood power station.”
At last year’s state election the Coalition refused to match Labor’s commitment to begin replacing Hazelwood, and as yet the new Government has no strategy to achieve its target of a 20% cut in greenhouse pollution by 2010.
“Replacing Hazelwood is an obvious starting point for reducing the state’s emissions and modernizing our power supply,” Mr Wakeham concluded.
For interview contact:
Mark Wakeham, Campaigns Director on 0439 700 501
Louise Matthiesson on 0417 017 844