Wednesday 26th OCTOBER, 2011
“Anglesea Coal Mine has been approved without consideration for Community Health or improved pollution monitoring”, says Anglesea Air Action spokesperson Sonia Ivetac. “The dirty truth is that the government made this decision while ignoring the health of the local community including issues involving children’s health. This is one of the most appalling decisions made by the Victorian Bailleau Government yet.”
According to the Energy and Resources Minister, Mr O’Brien, the revised agreement is a ‘win-win’ outcome. “But who wins?”, asks Ivetac. “Certainly not the Anglesea community.
The pollution and health risks will only increase with the announced 246 hectares of mine expansion. The residents of Anglesea will lose out and will have to deal with decades of public health and environmental impact.”
In his media release, Minister O’Brien also states that, “through good faith negotiations
between Alcoa and the State, the new Agreement delivers a great result for the people of Anglesea. “How could this possibly be considered a great result?” asks Ivetac.
“There has been no good faith negotiation with the community regarding the health of Anglesea residents. The mine operations are situated just a few hundred metres from the nearest homes. We have been asking for an independent health study for Anglesea prior to the lease renewal, but had no positive response from the Victorian State Government or Department of Health”.
“This is another step backward by the Bailleau Government who haven’t announced any additional steps to measure air pollution from the mine and power station”, says Dr Merryn Redenbach of Doctors for the Environment.
“Currently there is no monitoring for particulate matter. Stricter monitoring of air pollution around the Anglesea mine and coal fired power station is needed, especially of particulate matter which has immediate and long term health effects, eg, heart attacks, strokes, heart arrythmias and premature death”.
“Around the world, there is a shift towards a clean energy future and people are coming together to say “no” to dirty coal energy”, says Ivetac. “Why has the Baillieu government yet again missed a significant opportunity to begin the transition to sustainable energy and safeguard the environment and community health?”
“While the Victorian Government can say that Alcoa had the right to extend its agreement, the fact remains that the coal resource is the property of the State, not the Corporation. A Giant Corporation has won out against the long term health and environmental interests of the Anglesea community” says Cam Walker of Friends of the Earth.
Additional Media comments: Mike Lawrence 0428 446 717