Media Releases | 10th Jun, 2011

Environment groups lodge legal challenge to new HRL coal power plant

Friday, 10 June 2011

Environment Victoria and City of Port Phillip-based climate action group LIVE have announced a legal challenge to the proposed new HRL coal-fired power station planned for Morwell in Victoria.

Lawyers for environment groups will lodge a Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) appeal today against the EPA’s decision last month to approve the new coal-fired power station.

A key concern of the environment groups is that the proposed power station does not meet best practice standards for electricity generation, and that the EPA failed to consider non-coal based technologies in its determination of best practice.

Environment Victoria Campaigns Director Mark Wakeham said today:

“We’re confident Victorians don’t consider polluting brown coal to be best practice electricity generation, and we think that the EPA has failed to properly consider the alternatives to brown coal in its decision-making.

“It’s a very important case because if this power station proceeds it will crowd out genuinely clean power stations and make it impossible for Victoria to achieve its legislated target to reduce greenhouse emissions by 20 per cent by 2020.”

The legal challenge has been prepared by solicitors from the Environment Defenders Office (EDO) with expert environmental law barristers Adrian Finanzio and Rupert Watters.

EDO Principal Solicitor Felicity Millner said today:

“This is the first time a new major power station has been the subject of a review in VCAT. This important case will test the relevance of broader state and federal energy policies to individual proposals for new coal power stations,”

“If successful, this case will make approving new coal-fired power stations under current laws very difficult. So it will be an important test of how well the law protects people and their environment in the context of climate change.

LIVE (Locals Into Victoria’s Environment) President Deborah Hart said today:

“The EPA should never have granted this approval. There are far cleaner ways to generate the electricity we need, and Victorians don’t need or want another polluting coal-fired power station. We’re taking this legal action to ensure the EPA and the law keeps up with community concern about climate change.”

More on our campaign to stop new coal power in Victoria

Check out what the media had to say about it here

Media assistance:

Louise Matthiesson 0417 017 844

Photo opportunity:

The environment groups and their lawyers will lodge the appeal at:
When: 1pm Friday, 10 June 2011
Where: VCAT offices 55 King St, Melbourne CBD