As the NSW Government Clean Air Summit gets underway in Sydney today, Lock The Gate Alliance has called for urgent action to bring down dangerous air pollution from the coal mining industry, which is the biggest single source of air pollution in NSW.
Particulate pollution causes hundreds of deaths in New South Wales every year.
Hunter regional coordinator for Lock the Gate Alliance, Steve Phillips said, “The NSW Government needs to act urgently to reduce the burden of pollution being inflicted on the people of New South Wales by the coal mining industry”.
According to the EPA’s own discussion paper, coal mines are the biggest cause of large and small particle pollution in NSW, as well being responsible for significant amounts of of air-borne toxins such as arsenic and volatile organic compounds.
The Clean Air Summit in Sydney today follows a discussion paper released by the EPA late last year which proposed that the state’s “load-based licencing scheme”, which is designed to reduce pollution by making polluters pay, should be extended to include coal mining.
“There’s no excuse for leaving coal mining out of the load-based licencing scheme when other industries pay their fair share” Mr Philips said.
“The EPA got over 1,500 submissions on this issue from the public, and reported strong support for applying the scheme to coal mining and making that industry pay for the cost of its pollution on the community.
“What is the point of a pollution reduction scheme if the biggest polluters in the state are exempt from it?”
“The facts are on the table. Coal mines are the biggest emitters of particle pollution and particle pollution causes sickness and death. We have a scheme to reduce this pollution, we just need to apply it to the coal mining industry.
“We call on the Environment Minister, Gabrielle Upton, to tell today’s summit that this simple step will be taken and to ensure that the free ride the coal mining industry has so far enjoyed at the public’s expense will be coming to an end,” said Phillips.