Protecting Wilderness and National Parks

Incinerator plan will poison Blue Mountains and Sydney

The Colong Foundation for Wilderness finds Energy Australia and Re.Group’s proposal to build a ‘Waste-to-Energy’ facility at the Mt Piper Power Station in Lithgow a cause for great concern, given the impact it is likely to have on communities and ecosystems. The proposal plans to transport nearly 100 b-doubles full of rubbish daily from waste facilities in western Sydney, which will travel via the Bells Line of Road and the Great Western Highway to Lithgow where it will be incinerated to generate electricity. The NSW Government has labelled the proposal a ‘State Significant Development’ due to its alleged status as a renewable energy project. However, it will be a major emitter of greenhouse gasses and will leave a lasting toxic legacy.

Wilson Harris, Natural Areas Campaigner, Colong Foundation for Wilderness said:
”It is laughable this project will receive subsidies and a rubber stamp from the NSW government because it has been labelled a ‘green energy project’. Waste-to-energy facilities have been proven to have a greater carbon footprint per unit of energy created than oil, gas or coal. Turning waste into energy is less efficient in the long term than recycling the material being burned.

“The toxic gasses and ash produced through the incineration process will poison local communities and environments, which is especially egregious given it is on the doorstep of the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area and its townships. The toxic ash dump is proposed to be built next to the headwaters of the Coxs River, which sits upstream of the Sydney Water catchment supply. This is incredibly dangerous to the integrity of Sydney’s water supply.

“The prevailing winds at the site blow west-east, which means that the toxic gas produced at this facility will be blown over the communities and natural environments of the Blue Mountains. In the right conditions, this could easily find its way into the Sydney airshed. This impact will be most pronounced in western Sydney.

“Contrary to the proponents greenwashing, it will not be a source of green, clean energy. It will emit greenhouse gasses, carcinogenic toxins and stymie innovation for recycling solutions. We should be discouraging production and consumption of non-recyclable materials (i.e single-use plastic bags) rather than encouraging them. This is a bad proposal that should be rejected.”

Media contact:
Wilson Harris 0479100461

Department of Planning, Industry and Environment Mt Piper Waste to Energy proposal - SSD-8294 EIS exhibition documents
Colong Foundation submission objecting to this proposal