To protect health, Anglesea mine and coal fired power station should close with Point Henry
Following Alcoa’s announcement that it will close the Point Henry Aluminium Smelter in August 2014, health advocacy organisation Doctors for the Environment Australia has called on Alcoa and the Victorian State Government to commit to the concurrent closure of Anglesea Coal Mine and Coal Fire Power station to protect the health of Anglesea residents.
“Compared to coal elsewhere, Anglesea coal has an extremely high sulphur content. When it is burned at Anglesea Power Station, high levels of sulphur dioxide are emitted. Sulphur dioxide is a respiratory irritant with no safe exposure level of exposure. It can trigger asthma attacks and worsen lung diseases like emphysema” said Dr Eugenie Kayak, Victorian Chair of Doctors for the Environment Australia.
“The power station also releases other harmful air pollution that is known to contribute to heart disease, lung disease and lung cancer.”
“One of the closest buildings to the power station is the local primary school, and other residential areas and the town centre are within two kilometres.”
“Residents of Anglesea have been paying the price for cheap electricity to Point Henry through the risk to their health. Weighing resident’s health against the large number of jobs at Point Henry has been a difficult choice. Now that the aluminium smelter is closing, there is no justification for exposing residents and school children to dangerous air pollution and the dangers of living close to an open cut brown coal mine.”
“Having made the decision to close Point Henry, the decent thing for Alcoa to do is to also retire the Anglesea Power Station, and restore the clean, healthy environment that Anglesea children and families deserve.”
“Air pollution standards in Alcoa’s home country of the United States would not allow the power station to operate at it’s current standard of air pollution. Australian communities deserve the same level of protection.”
For more information: DEA Submission opposing the application for an Electricity Generation License for Anglesea Power Station from Alcoa of Australia Limited, December 2013
Image: Anglesea Primary School with Power Station Emissions