Protecting Wilderness and National Parks

Time to retire coal-fired power plants - Senate Inquiry investigates

Making coal-fired power generators pay the full cost of the environmental harm they cause would be an effective way of bringing forward their closure, the Colong Foundation for Wilderness Director Keith Muir will tell a Senate inquiry today.

“Requiring power generators to pay the full cost of all sources of pollution and environmental damage will reduce what are effectively subsidies for coal-fired power until other policy measures are implemented,” Mr Muir said.

“Making generators pay for pollution and damage will remove the unfair cost advantage of coal-fired power, and help society understand the choices needed if it wants nature, food production, clean air and water to be protected by power generators.”

Mr Muir said the true cost of coal-fired power generation went beyond carbon pollution and climate change.

“The impact of these facilities on the natural environment is a cost hidden from the wider community and not reflected in the electricity price,” he said.

“The Springvale mine, which supplies coal to the Mount Piper Power Station near Lithgow is a significant source of pollution in Sydney’s drinking water catchment and responsible for the destruction of nationally endangered ecosystems on the Newnes plateau.

“If the companies involved were required to pay the hundreds of millions of dollars required to clean up their pollution and prevent environmental degradation, coal would immediately become uneconomic as a power source.

“When the true costs in pollution and damage are combined, we found that coal-fired power is not just polluting Sydney’s drinking water supplies but undermining the tourism potential of the Lithgow region.”

For more information contact: Keith Muir, (02) 9261 2400 (wk) or 0412 791 404 (mob)

Senate Inquiry into Retirement of Coal-fired Power Stations

Interim report of the Standing Committee on Environment and Communications

Colong Foundation submission to the Senate Inquiry

Drone video of a part of the 40,000 hectare Gardens of Stone reserve proposal