The State and Federal Government’s decision to hand over $50 million of public money to speculative private coal projects in the Latrobe Valley has been condemned by Environment Victoria as dangerously irresponsible.
“The smoke has barely lifted from the Hazelwood mine fire which cost taxpayers $15 million in the State Budget and already the Government is putting more taxpayer money into the most polluting fuel on the planet,” said Environment Victoria Acting CEO Mark Wakeham.
“Successive State and Federal governments have repeatedly thrown money at squeezing more life out of brown coal with nothing to show for it.
“The funding decision, made as part of the Advanced Lignite Demonstration Program flies in the face of shifts within the energy sector towards clean renewable technologies, the accepted wisdom on climate change and the reality of the impacts of the coal sector in the Valley.
“These unconventional coal processing techniques and products pose a high economic and environmental risk,” said Mark Wakeham. “They are polluting and are likely to be even more polluting over the full life cycle than existing conventional alternatives”.
“It’s particularly disappointing to see these polluting projects receive government handouts in the same week that the Federal Government has taken the axe to renewable energy programs in Tuesday’s budget.
“New brown coal technology is less about securing our own electricity supply and more about speculative export pipe dreams. The Hazelwood fire has shown that the Government can’t control existing coal mines. This is no time to be pushing new projects which could lead to a coal allocation and new mines.
“One of the recipients of funding, Ignite Energy, holds exploration licences across swathes of Gippsland from Bairnsdale to Foster, and boasts on its website about the size of its coal deposits. It’s deeply concerning that the State and Federal Governments are backing their damaging plans.
“If the State and Federal Governments want to create lasting jobs in a 21st Century resource sector they should support renewable resources that don’t pollute the environment or choke the community. These poorly conceived and polluting plan will be strongly contested”.
For background on Ignite Energy visit: http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Ignite_Energy_Resources
For background on Coal Energy Australia visit: http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Coal_Energy_Australia