Lock the Gate Alliance fears Snowy Hydro’s decision to lodge an Environmental Impact Statement for its polluting Kurri Kurri gas fired power station today will embolden gas companies to expand and build new destructive gasfields and pipelines, threatening farmers’ land and water.
The decision by the government-owned corporation also flies in the face of a recent report by the United Nations that called on countries to cease building new gas infrastructure in an attempt to avoid the worst impacts of the climate catastrophe.
According to the plant’s EIS, it would be responsible for about 14.8 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions over its lifespan, however this does not include fugitive emissions released when the gas that will be sent to the power station is mined.
Fugitive emissions from dirty methane gas, which warms the atmosphere 86 times as much as the same weight of carbon dioxide, released during extraction process mean gas contributes much more to global warming than if only its emissions when burned are taken into account.
The lodging of the EIS also comes two days after the Federal Budget was released, in which no money was officially allocated to the plant.
Lock the Gate Alliance NSW spokesperson Georgina Woods said the Morrison Government appeared to be trying to have a bet each way with the Australian public.
“We fear the Morrison Government will use smoke and mirrors to turn this polluting and expensive power plant into the showpiece of a fossil-fuel powered election campaign,” she said.
“But it is clear from this EIS this power plant would be built at the detriment to many and the benefit of a select few.
“If it is built, the Kurri Kurri plant would cost the Australian taxpayer $610M, create only 10 long term permanent jobs, further threaten our scarce arable land, and contribute further to the climate crisis.
“The simple fact this EIS has now been lodged will embolden petroleum companies to search for more gas and progress pipeline plans, leading to conflict with landholders.
“As well, there are serious concerns about on site contamination that is yet to be cleaned up from when the location hosted an aluminium smelter.”
Ms Woods said recent media had raised questions over banned political donors who appeared to stand to gain from the construction of the power station.
“It’s difficult to know exactly what game the Morrison Government is playing with this gas station proposal, but one thing is for sure - it stinks."