Approval for coal expansion at odds with Andrews govt ambition to lead climate fight

MEDIA RELEASE: 30 Jan 2017

Approval for coal expansion at odds with Andrews govt ambition to lead climate fight

Approval of an expansion to the Loy Yang B coal power plant has been met with criticism from Victoria's environment groups and is at odds with the Andrews government's ambition to lead on climate change.

In a case of embarrassing timing, the Victorian Environment Protection Authority approved the coal project just a day after the Daniel Andrews government claimed a national leadership position on climate change--committing to emissions reductions of up to 20 percent by 2020.

"Expanding coal power undermines the Daniel Andrews government's ambition to lead on climate change," said Leigh Ewbank, acting campaigns coordinator for Friends of the Earth.  

"It's deeply irresponsible to prolong coal power generation with the urgent need to rein in emissions."

"When you're in a hole you stop digging. This decision does nothing to protect Victorian communities from the impacts of climate change."

Friends of the Earth say the timing of both announcements could lead to confusion in the community. The group says the government's forthcoming coal policy must include measures to secure a safe climate.

"The Andrews government can articulate its commitment to leading on climate change in its forthcoming coal policy."

"Misalignment between state climate and energy policy can be resolved. It's why we need the upper house to pass the Climate Change Act and a smart coal policy from the Andrews government."

Friends of the Earth say a smart coal policy for a safe climate would commit to: 

  • No new mines or power generation.
  • A rapid phase out of existing coal power plants. 
  • No coal exports or public funds for "clean coal" technology. 
  • And end to political donations and lobbying by coal companies.  
  • Transition plans for coal workers and communities.

Friends of the Earth is closely tracking the passage of the Victorian Climate Change Act and development of the Andrews government's coal policy.