EPA chief John Merritt’s promise to create a “modern regulator”, determined to deliver the “best environmental outcomes” has been exposed as a hollow lie by today’s decision to approve the HRL coal fired power station in Morwell. Despite a commitment to ensure that “community aspirations will drive the standards that we set for our environment” the EPA has ignored the 4,000 submissions received (the largest ever) opposed to the project and given approval to 300MW of the project with 300MW to be approved later. This staged approval is just mere window dressing on behalf of the EPA to give an appearance that they are being tough. No doubt when the first stage is approved and the heat is off they will quietly approve the rest.
The EPA argues that HRL represents “best practice” for a brown coal power station. Hello!!!! Coal is not “best practise” for generating electricity and hasn’t been for decades. That’s like arguing an advanced steam train represents best practice in transportation. Indeed the EPA knows it as failed in it’s purpose to “protect, care for and improve our environment”. It was so embarrassed about it’s decision it tried to sneak the announcement on a Friday afternoon after telling the stop HRL campaign the announcement wouldn’t be until next week. But we found out and in a matter of minutes organised a snap protest outside their offices.
This is just a start there is a rally on the steps of parliament on Tuesday. We need to send a powerful message to the government (both state and federal) that the community will not allow another coal plant to be built. That at a time when the Federal Government is trying to show it is serious about climate change with it’s carbon tax it’s scandalous that it is committing $100 million to this project – and the Victorian government $50 million. Come join us at 12:45 and tell them no new coal – spend it on renewables instead.