Greenpeace takes action at site of new dirty coal power station

Press release - 23 November, 2011
‘Julia, keep your word on HRL’

Morwell, 23 November 2011: At the site of the proposed “HRL” dirty coal-fired power station south of Morwell, Victoria, Greenpeace activists have laid out a 200 metre long banner with the message ‘Julia, keep your word on HRL’, referencing the Prime Minister’s 2010 commitment to prevent more polluting coal-fired power stations.

HRL’s proposal would generate more than three million tonnes of carbon pollution each year at a rate equivalent to a standard black coal power station. It would also see nearby dairy farming land converted into coalmines.

In 2007, HRL was awarded a $100 million taxpayer-funded grant by the Howard Government. This grant has sustained the project even as its costs have escalated from $750 million to $1.3 billion, while also ensuring HRL’s proposal remains alive even after the passing of the Clean Energy Future package. None of the $100 million has so far been advanced to HRL as the preconditions of the grant have still not been met. HRL has been given until 31 December 2011 to satisfy the grant’s conditions or risk it being cancelled.

“After working so hard to bring in a price on carbon pollution, the last thing the government needs now is for work to start on a new coal-fired power station”, said Greenpeace Climate Campaigner Julien Vincent.

“If HRL’s filthy project goes ahead it would make a complete mockery of the Prime Minister Gillard’s commitment to stop new coal power stations.

“The Prime Minister has an opportunity to stop HRL’s dirty coal power station going ahead by simply cancelling the $100 million grant. It would be legal, logical and popular with the community.”

A recent survey by Newspoll among a representative sample of more than 600 Victorians has revealed popular support for the government to reallocate HRL’s $100 million grant. 67% of Victorians believe the $100 million grant earmarked for the proposed new brown coal and gas power station at Morwell should instead be used to support renewable energy. This is more than two and a half times the proportion of people who believe the grant should remain with HRL.

Thousands of people have also signed a petition, organised by Greenpeace and Environment Victoria, calling on the Parliament to redirect HRL’s grant to renewable energy.

For more information and comment:
Julie Macken, Communications Officer 0400 925 217
Julien Vincent, Climate Campaigner 0419 179 529

Images available at: http://www.greenpeacemedia.org

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