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NSW EPA decision on coal-fired power station licence review

By January 30, 2019Air Pollution

The NSW EPA completed the licence reviews for 3 NSW coal-fired power stations, Vales Point, Mt Piper and Eraring on the 23rd of January, 2019 and determined the licences would remain unchanged.

The complete dates for the three Environment Protection Licences (EPLs) are indicated on the EPA’s public register but the determinations or any other information has not been made public.

One of EJA’s partner organisations received written confirmation that the EPL reviews were complete on 22/1. Adam Gilligan, Director of the EPA’s northern region wrote that the statutory reviews were complete.

“The review found that the licences regulating the power stations continue to deliver appropriate environmental protection and the recommendations already being implemented following a comprehensive review of air quality monitoring and reporting at power stations earlier this year, will address improvements required in the licences.”

“Following the Review of Coal Fired Power Station Air Emissions and Monitoring earlier this year the EPA is working with all power stations across the state to make emissions monitoring licence conditions more consistent and ensure licenced emission limits are consistent with operational design performance, in order to improve environmental performance in the long term. These amendments are likely to be finalised in the first quarter of 2019.”

“While there is technology available to reduce power station emissions, the EPA’s statutory reviews of the Eraring, Mount Piper and Vales Point power stations environment protection licences found that imposing a requirement to significantly upgrade the power stations was not warranted, based on the good air quality experienced across NSW. The EPA will however consider advice from NSW Health in relation to health issues that may be evident as a results of power station emissions. The EPA also provided a copy of the report that you refer to in your letter (‘The health burden of fine particle pollution from electricity generation in NSW’ by Dr Ben Ewald) to NSW Health for consideration. The EPA will consider any information provided by NSW Health regarding this report.”

Reviews were completed ahead of schedule for all three EPLs. They are now due for their next review in 2023.

EJA confirmed the completion of the licence reviews on 23/01/2019 by speaking with David Fowler, the state’s Acting Chief Regulator. Mr Fowler justified the EPA’s decision not to strengthen the pollution licences by saying that any licence conditions need to be enforceable.

 

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