Eraring coal-fired power station’s expansion plans a recipe for disaster
The Greens have condemned EPA approval for Origin’s Eraring coal-fired power station to expand an ash dam over a disused coal mine, despite expert concerns about potential hazards.
Energy and Resources spokesperson Jeremy Buckingham said, “Expanding the Eraring ash dam over the top of an old underground mine is a recipe for disaster.
“Sinkholes are likely to connect the toxic ash dam with the abandoned underground mine which will then leak to pollute Lake Macquarie.
“The expansion plans exponentially increase the area where the ash dam would be located over the the old underground coal mine. Origin Energy and the government should look for a less risky option for disposal of ash from the power station.
“The government should thoroughly investigate whether the current ash dam configuration is leeching toxic chemicals into the old mine and Lake Macquarie before it even considers this risky expansion.
“This issue demonstrates some of the hidden environmental and financial costs of coal, and is yet another reason we should rapidly transition from coal to renewable energy.
“The sooner Eraring power station closes, the less the ash dam will need to be expanded and the less risk of water pollution.
“This kind of geo-engineering will have long-lasting impacts and the government must ensure the rehabilitation bonds are adequate and liabilities are covered into the future when coal-fired power stations are remembered as a folly that went on for far too long,” he said.