Health, environment and community groups file legal complaint with EPA News

[Vales Point] A coalition of health, environment and community groups has filed a complaint with the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) calling for an investigation into the pollution at the Vales Point power plant, operated by Delta Electricity.

Environmental Justice Australia (EJA), acting on behalf of the coalition, wants the EPA to investigate alleged violations of the law by Delta Electricity, after the plant reported huge increases in dangerous pollution, despite lower production electricity.

An EPA spokesperson said he had received a complaint from the EJA alleging that the operators of the Vales Point power plant had failed to meet a series of conditions in their environmental protection permit and investigation. the allegations.

“The EPA has a comprehensive and robust framework for regulating power plants in NSW and will take decisive action in response to any licensee who fails to meet the stringent requirements in place to protect the community and l ‘environment,’ the spokesperson said.

EJA attorney Nick Witherow said the legal complaint referred to recently released data from the National Pollutant Inventory (NPI) which showed Vales Point had increased emissions of hazardous PM10 particles by 121% and of fine particles PM2.5 of 181%. the previous reporting year.

Delta Electricity strongly rejected the claims of the EJA and other militant groups, calling them factually incorrect and deliberately misleading.

Company secretary Steve Gurney said Delta welcomes any EPA investigation into the allegations.

“EJA is a Victoria-based environmental group with an anti-coal platform that wants to shut down coal generators now,” he said.

“It would see the lights go out, cost jobs in the industry and decimate the New South Wales economy.

“Power plants are licensed and highly regulated with significant oversight from the EPA.

“The Vales Point power plant operates under these strict environmental permit conditions and Delta takes its duty of care to the local community and the environment seriously.

“Once again, we see activist groups seeking to instill fear in the community based on selective and distorted data,” Gurney said.

“This is another example of anti-central activists seeking media headlines rather than constructively engaging in the scientifically rigorous review process,” he said.

“These results are rebounding from year to year due to the annualization of three to four days of test data.

“If you then take those three to four days of data and annualize it, you accentuate what was a little difference.

“As part of a review of Delta’s environmental license, this type of monitoring is being moved on a quarterly basis rather than annually, which should lead to more consistent data.

Gurney said the 2018-19 stack emissions results were within the plant’s normal operating range and were well within compliance limits.

“Delta is convinced that any investigation will show that Delta is operating under these strict conditions,” he said.

EJA attorney Nick Witherow said Delta’s attempts to explain why they had failed to properly control dangerous particulate pollution defied logic.

“(As reported in the April 22 Chronicle) Delta claims a number of bag filters, particulate pollution controls, were found to work inefficiently when tested in March / April for reports NPI, ”he said.

The statement claims the company also uses continuous particulate pollution monitoring, but does not explain why this failed to detect the huge increases in particulate pollution or determine how long the filters sleeve operated inefficiently.

“If Delta Electricity were to continuously monitor Vales Point’s PM2.5 emissions as they claim, then we would expect the failure of the fabric filters to have been apparent before the March / April testing required for the NPI.

“The alternative is that Delta Electricity knew the fabric filters were failing before testing was undertaken in March and April 2019, but they did not act.

The health, environment and community coalition that filed the legal complaint and called for the EPA’s investigation includes Environmental Justice Australia, Nature Conservation Council NSW, Lake Macquarie & Central Coast Coal-Ash Alliance, Keep Lake Macquarie Clean, Greenpeace, Australian Conservation Foundation, Doctors for the Environment, Lung Foundation Australia, Asthma Australia and Healthy Futures.


Press release, April 24

Environmental Justice Australia

Press release, May 1

Steve Gurney, Delta Electricity

Press release, May 4

Environmental protection authority

Journalist: Sue Murray

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