Media Releases | 18th Jul, 2014

SCAA welcomes broad based support for Anglesea coal plant closure

18 July 2014

Anglesea based community group Surf Coast Air Action (SCAA) has welcomed the support of Doctors for the Environment Australia, GetUp!, Environment Victoria, Friends of the Earth, Surf Coast Energy Group, Geelong Sustainability Group and others for the closure of the Alcoa Anglesea coal mine and power plant.

The groups have formally endorsed a statement of support prepared by SCAA (copy attached) that summarises key problems with the Anglesea facility and pledges support for SCAA’s ongoing campaign to urge Alcoa to shut down the plant and rehabilitate the mine and to ask any potential purchasers or investors to publicly rule out interest in the plant or mine. The support base of the groups endorsing the statement numbers in the hundreds of thousands across Victoria and the rest of Australia.

“The broad based support for SCAA’s campaign reinforces the serious health and environmental risks that the mine and plant pose” said SCAA spokesperson and Anglesea resident Dr Jacinta Morahan. “This is not just an issue of concern for Anglesea and the Surf Coast, it’s an issue of state and national significance. SCAA welcomes the flood of endorsements for the statement and will seek the support of other organisations as well.

“We know that the campaign to close the toxic Anglesea facility has overwhelming support in Anglesea and the Surf Coast.” said SCAA spokesperson and Anglesea resident of 30 years Mark Smith. “The formal statement of support provides local, state and national organisations with a tangible way of making it very plain to Alcoa and any potential purchasers and financiers that the mine and power plant do not belong in Anglesea in 2014.

“The time has come to acknowledge that the Anglesea coal mine and power plant are unnecessary relics from a different era.” said local resident, tourism operator and SCAA spokesperson Regina Gleeson. “The jobs of the future are in sustainable industries such as tourism and renewable energy, not in destructive and polluting industries of the past like coal mining and combustion.”

SCAA have repeatedly urged the Victorian Energy Minister Russell Northe to be proactive and to intervene by commissioning independent research into the risks of public health, coal mine fire and ground movement from the continued operation of the Anglesea facility.

Figures recently released by the National Pollutant Inventory reveal that the Alcoa-owned Anglesea coal plant:

  • Is the equal third highest emitter of the known respiratory irritant sulphur dioxide (SO2) in Australia (39,000,000 kg per annum); and
  • Also emits particulates (a recognized carcinogen) as well as Arsenic, Lead and Mercury.

The only power plants in Australia emitting more SO2 than Alcoa Anglesea (Bayswater in the Hunter Valley [63,000,000 kg] and Loy Yang in the Latrobe Valley [49,000,000 kg]) produce 17.6 and 14.7 times more electricity than Anglesea respectively.

Even the old and notoriously polluting Hazelwood power plant in the Latrobe Valley emits only 1/3 of the SO2 emitted by the Anglesea facility, despite producing 10 times the power output.

The Anglesea power plant operates just 550 metres from homes and 1.2 kilometres from the local primary school.

The power produced by the Anglesea facility will not be required when the Alcoa Point Henry smelter (which it was constructed to feed) closes later this month.

Community surveying in Anglesea has revealed that 82% of those surveyed want the mine and power plant shut down and rehabilitated, with the remainder almost evenly split between undecided or against closure.

Media Contacts:
Dr Jacinta Morahan 0419 357 971
Mark Smith 0438 055764
Regina Gleeson 0427 479 679

Read the joint statement >