BY ALICE PEART
The NSW Nature Conservation Council are mounting a legal challenge against the state government over their recent renewal of pollution licences for three coal-fired power stations, two of which are located in Hunter at Vale Point and Eraring.
Pollution licences were initially issued across the state in the 1970s and ’80s when the stations were built, with renewals required every five years by the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA).
The NSW Nature Conservation Council however is claiming the licences do not meet the legal standards by failing to review best practice in pollution reduction.
Technologies such as Flue-gas are already in use across the US, Europe and Asia and can reduce pollution up to 99 per cent.
The Conservation Council said the stakes are high with 279 deaths attributable to air pollution each year from the stations in NSW alone.
They’ve said 160,000 tonnes of toxic air pollution is produced by the stations every year, including heavy metals (lead, arsenic and mercury), sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides and PM fine particles.
PM fine particles on their own are well documented to cause lung cancer, respiratory illness, heart attack and stroke according to the
World Health Organisation.
The environmental advocacy group say they are awaiting a response to their court summons from the EPA.