Environmentalists support the Latrobe Valley call to re-assess new coal mining and create a ‘Health Conservation area’

Keith_Pakenham_CFA_Hazelwood_fire.jpgMedia release. July 30, 2014. Friends of the Earth

Friends of the Earth (FoE) has supported the call from Latrobe Valley community organisation Voices of the Valley for the full rehabilitation of non-operational mine faces in the Hazelwood mine and the assessment of future industrial developments for their potential health impacts before they are approved.

“Voices of the Valley’s call for the reassessment of the 13 billion tonnes of coal that has been earmarked for allocation is a significant move” said Friends of the Earth campaigns co-ordinator Cam Walker.

“Particularly after the Hazelwood mine fire, residents in the Latrobe Valley are starting to question the double standards that currently exist around energy production in the state. Wind farms have been banned by the Coalition within 5 kilometres of key regional centres, including Moe, Morwell and Traralgon, yet a coal mine or unconventional gas well can be placed within 100 metres of houses.”

“Rehabilitating the mine will create hundreds of jobs. It will make the site safe for residents. It could be the beginning of a meaningful transition plan for the Valley.”

Voices of the Valley has today put a series of questions to the Premier which aim to clarify what support the government will give the residents of the Latrobe Valley to assist with the economic and health problems that occurred as a result of the fire.

FoE supports the call to:

  • Rehabilitate all non-operational mine faces in the Hazelwood mine
  • Review all mine bonds to ensure they are adequate
  • Immediately release and implement the outcomes of the Hazelwood Mine Fire Inquiry once its findings are handed down
  • Identify what measures will be implemented to prevent future fires in coal mines
  • Ensure there is Fair health support for Valley residents, with health checks, testing, and ongoing health assessments
  • declare the Latrobe Valley a 'Health Conservation area', and assess any future industrial developments for their potential health impacts before they are approved
  • Reassess the 13 billion tonnes of coal that has been earmarked for allocation
  • Implement a jobs creation plan for the Latrobe Valley, including new manufacturing such as production of pre-fabricated houses and buildings, renewable energy components, value-adding to Gippsland’s agricultural sector, and service sector jobs
  • Address the structural issues of drainage of storm water on the north side of the M1 in Morwell which is impacting residents and threatening the stability of the freeway.

  FoE also supports the full rehabilitation of the HRL Energy Brix site.

Further comment

Cam Walker 0419 338 047