Environment Victoria has today expressed its deep disappointment with VCAT’s decision to uphold the appeal by HRL and overturn the environmental and health-based limitations placed on the proposed new coal-fired power station HRL by the Environment Protection Authority.
However, Environment Victoria has vowed to continue their campaign to stop the proposed coal-fired power station from going ahead.
In a surprise move, VCAT has overturned an EPA limit on the HRL proposal that restricted the size of the power station to 300 Megawatts in the first stage of development. VCAT has approved a full two-stage 600MW power station, doubling the power station’s greenhouse pollution and increasing the power station’s local air pollution.
Environment Victoria and local community climate action group LIVE had brought their own challenge to the EPA approval, arguing that the EPA’s limitations weren’t strong enough, and that a new-coal fired power station should not have been approved as ‘best practice’ as required under the Environment Protection Act given cleaner power station proposals are on the table and ready to go in Victoria.
Environment Victoria CEO Kelly O’Shanassy said today:
“We’re shocked and deeply disappointed with this outcome.
“We disagree with the interpretation of the law in this case, and cannot see how a new coal-fired power station can possibly be seen as ‘best practice’ for the industry sector of electricity generation. There are genuinely clean alternatives on the table and ready to go in Victoria.
“We’ll be looking very carefully at our legal options, and reviewing our next steps. But this campaign is far from over.”
Environment Victoria also stated that they would continue conversations with the Federal and State Governments about government funding of the power station.
“Julia Gillard needs to step up and withdraw the Federal government’s $100 million grant to this polluting power station immediately. The power station will be highly polluting, out-of-date and economically unviable regardless of how big they build it, based on expert evidence given in VCAT.
“It’s a ridiculous situation when on the one hand you’re introducing a carbon price to cut pollution, and on the other you’re giving away taxpayer money to help build new polluting coal-fired power stations. If the Prime Minister wants to maintain her hard-earned credibility on climate change this coal-fired power station can’t go ahead with her name printed on the receipt.”
Environment Victoria also stressed that they would continue their campaign to prevent the power station from going ahead.
“Despite today’s decision we think this power station is on very shaky ground. They don’t have their equity, their technology is second rate, they’ll have a multi-million dollar carbon liability, and there are cleaner options on the table and ready to go. We’re committed to making sure there are no more coal-fired power stations built in Victoria and we’ll be campaigning to make sure that’s a reality.”
“Finally we’d like to thank our extremely dedicated legal team for all their work on this case so far.”
For further comment:
Kelly O’Shanassy, CEO Environment Victoria – 0421 054 402
For legal implications of this outcome:
Felicity Millner, Principal Solicitor, Environment Defenders Office – 0427 766 855