Today Greens NSW Abigail Boyd MP will be in Muswellbrook with Sue Abbott, Greens candidate for the Upper Hunter, to launch the Greens plan to tackle the air pollution crisis in the Upper Hunter.
Communities in the Upper Hunter live unacceptably close to both open-cut coal mines and coal-fired power stations, with increased rates of heart attack, stroke and respiratory diseases.
The cornerstone of the Greens plan is the Clean Air Bill, to be introduced into NSW Parliament on Wednesday 5 May. The Bill seeks to tackle highly toxic but preventable air pollution from coal-fired power stations in NSW by forcing the installation of emissions control technology that has long been mandatory in the United States, Europe and China.
The Greens plan also includes ensuring that no new or expanded open cut mines are approved in the Upper Hunter, requiring all coal to be covered in transit, and for continuous monitoring and real-time reporting of all stack emissions from Bayswater power station.
Existing pollution controls have been insufficient to control air pollution in the Hunter Valley. In just the first month of 2021, ten pollution alerts were issued in the Hunter Valley, including in Muswellbrook, Singleton South, Camberwell and Jerrys Plains.
Greens NSW MP & Spokesperson for Mining, Coal & Gas Abigail Boyd says:
“We can’t hold our breath any longer waiting for the NSW Liberal-National Government to tackle the air pollution crisis — so we’ve done their work for them and written the Clean Air Bill.
“Our Bill will force the remaining coal-fired power stations in NSW, including Bayswater, to install emissions control technology that has long been mandatory in the United States, Europe and China.
“For too long, operators of coal-fired power stations have profited, refusing to pay for new emission control technology while forcing communities here in the Hunter Valley to pay the price with higher rates of serious illnesses like heart disease, lung cancer and asthma.”
Sue Abbott, Greens NSW candidate for Upper Hunter says:
“No matter where you live you have the fundamental right to breathe clean air.
“Yet for years now the NSW Liberal-National Government has given the green light for coal-fired power station operators to pump our skies full of toxic pollutants that are shown to cause serious illness and premature death.
“Currently people who live within 50kms of coal-fired power stations face a risk of premature death as much as three to four times that of people living further away, with some of these toxic emissions travelling over 200kms.
“In January this year alone ten alerts were issued here in the Hunter Valley when air pollution standards were breached. It’s not good enough, and that’s exactly why we are introducing the Clean Air Bill.”