Today’s announcement that coal mining will be allowed to continue at Anglesea is possibly the worst in a long list of bad environmental decisions since the Baillieu government was elected, according to Friends of the Earth.
The government says that the supporting legislation, introduced to parliament today, will "modernise" its agreement with the Anglesea coal mine and power station and support regional jobs.
Friends of the Earth campaigns co-ordinator Cam Walker said “what the government fails to mention is that the Pt Henry smelter is not dependent on receiving energy from Anglesea to be viable. Alcoa could buy renewable energy to meet its needs and keep Pt Henry going.”
Alcoa began operating the mine in 1961 and indicated in 2008 that it would exercise its right to extend its lease another 50 years. Any future mine expansion will now be limited to three per cent of its total lease area, which is 7,145 hectares, and be subject to a new environmental process.
“While the 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,” Mr Walker said.
“The Energy and Resources Minister, Mr O'Brien, says that the revised agreement is a ‘win-win’ outcome. But who wins? Alcoa, who gets to continue to burn dirty, high sulphur coal.
“Who loses? The community of Anglesea, who will have to bear decades of public health impacts. The environment loses, as climate pollution will continue. The highly significant coastal heath lands will continue to be negatively impacted.
“The time for further investment in dirty coal is over. The Baillieu government has yet again missed a significant opportunity to begin the transition to sustainable energy.
“A giant corporation has won out against the long term interests of the local community. This is the same pattern we see at Bacchus Marsh and elsewhere, where landowners have no control over proposals for new coal and CSG operations.
“The government could have had the courage to oppose this extension.”
please take action
Please sign our petition to
the Premier of Victoria, the Managing Director of Alcoa Australia, and local
MPs, calling on them to work together to find renewable energy sources to keep
the Point Henry smelter going without having to rely on burning coal at
Anglesea. Available here. Remember to click the 'outside USA' option.
Please sign our petition calling for a moratorium on new coal and coal seam gas (CSG) in Victoria, available here.
for further information
For further details on the Anglesea mine campaign, check here.
Anglesea Air Action
Anglesea Air Action, together with the Surf Coast Energy Group, is a group of residents who do not support the State Government's plan to renew the Alcoa Anglesea mining lease for a further 50 years. You can find their website here.
Anglesea residents shocked by Baillieu coal mine renewal (media release from Anglesea Air Action Campaign).
a clean energy future for the Surf Coast
Check here for details on renewable energy options for the Surf Coast.
To get in touch about this campaign
Cam Walker 0419 338 047
If you would like to comment on this issue, please check our Facebook page.
If you would like regular (monthly) updates about our work on coal, CSG and renewables, please email cam[email protected] with SUBSCRIBE RENEWABLES in the subject line.
If you can financially support our campaign, please check here.
[above: heathy forest near the coal mine]