In response to the findings of the Supreme Court of Victoria into the 2014 fire at the Hazelwood power station, Environment Victoria Campaigns Manager Dr Nick Aberle said today:
“The fines announced today are a drop in the ocean compared to the $100 million of actual costs borne by the state of Victoria for the Hazelwood mine fire, let alone the health impacts felt by the community of the Latrobe Valley.”
“Despite the penalty handed down by the Supreme Court being disappointingly small, hopefully today’s sentencing brings some form of closure to the community who have fought for years to have the health and environmental impacts of the mine fire acknowledged and recognised.
“Stronger environmental protection regulations were due to come into effect in July, but have now been delayed due to the pandemic. These new regulations would have allowed a much more significant penalty, which would send a stronger signal to other would-be polluters.
“While we wait for these new regulations, the Environment Protection Authority still allows Victoria’s coal mines and power stations to pump dangerous levels of toxic air pollution into the Latrobe Valley on a daily basis.
“The Environmental Protection Authority’s long overdue power station licence review must minimise the ongoing risks that the mining and burning of coal continues to have on people living in the Latrobe Valley. This review must finally see the light of day.
“Despite the disaster of 2014, coal companies in the Latrobe Valley are continuing to maximise their profits while the public bears the full cost of the negative impacts.”
Dr Nicholas Aberle, Environment Victoria Campaign Manager
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