Call to action over Coal-ash dam legacy

The Coal-Ash Community Alliance (CCA) welcomes the announcement of the Legislative Council’s Inquiry into the costs for remediation of sites containing coal ash repositories, including Eraring and Vales Point Power Stations, and other relevant power stations, like the decommissioned Lake Munmorah.
It is not good enough that plans by the operators or former owners, the NSW Government, are not in place for the ash dam sites for both full remediation and re-use of the enormous lands on which they cover.
The closure of Myuna Bay Recreation Centre has been a massive boost for the general public awareness of the enormity of the problem, for both human health and the environment, especially the lakes, which are beloved recreational zones for locals and tourists.
Recently unveiled sales contracts detailing the privatisation of NSW power stations have shown that the NSW Government is responsible for the ash waste produced during state ownership and, therefore, the remediation of the Vales Point and Eraring ash waste sites.
The CCA does not want to simply cover the ash with a top layer of soil, plant some trees and hope the problem goes away.
If that becomes the accepted process, leachates will continue to seep from the site and make their way into our creeks, rivers and lakes, with future generations left to clean up the toxic mess.
The CCA recently met with Environment and Energy Minister, Matthew Kean, at Myuna Bay, and raised several issues that he was unaware of.
The Minister is currently looking into our claims before a future meeting with the CCA and local member, Greg Piper MP.
It is imperative that the community respond to this Inquiry and raise the issues of environmental contamination and the loss of community assets like Myuna Bay Recreation Centre, being caused by poor ash waste management and a lack of initiative from industry and Government, until now, with the launch of the Inquiry.
Residents need answers about funding being set aside for the remediation, and what proportion will be contributed from the power station operators under the sales contracts, as well as what the local job prospect for the sites’ remediation and repurposing of the lands will look like.
The CCA maintains that any current and past power station or industrial operator must be responsible for their legacy pollution.
Ongoing liability is paramount if we, the community, can feel safe in eating seafood from our lakes, swimming or partaking in other water activities and breathing the air.
The Coal-ash Community Alliance urge everyone to write to the inquiry and raise their concerns, no matter how large or small, “as that is the only way we can eventually get a satisfactory outcome for the region.

Email, Oct 5
Gary Blaschke OAM
The Coal-ash Community Alliance Inc.

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