20 May 2011
Newcastle Greens will meet tomorrow to discuss two major local developments with national and global implications for climate change: Port Waratah Coal Services’ proposed T4 coal loader expansion and Eastern Star Gas’s proposed liquid natural gas facility.
“These are both huge developments, with major implications for Newcastle and the Hunter, and for our national and global energy future,” Newcastle Greens spokesperson John Sutton said.
“We’ve already expressed our concerns at the quality of information being distributed by Port Waratah Coal Services about their T4 coal expansion.
“We also share the concerns of local residents about the potential local impacts of the T4 development, especially coal dust, and their push to draw a line in the Hunter River to stop any expansion of coal off Kooragang Island and onto the southern bank of the Hunter.
“The T4 proposal for loading berths on the southern bank would be a dangerous precedent that would bring coal export facilities much closer to residential areas and compromise the future use of the former BHP steelworks site for future economic diversification,” Mr Sutton said.
“The state government must act to ensure that the entire former BHP steelworks site is reserved for developments that allow the city to move away from coal dependence and to diversify the local and regional economy.
Mr Sutton said that The Greens are also concerned about the lack of awareness in the general community about Eastern Star Gas’s proposed liquid natural gas export facility on the north arm of the Hunter River.
“This is part of the largest coal seam gas proposal ever considered in NSW, and is linked to a proposed gas pipeline from Queensland to Kooragang Island, designed to service current and future coal seam gas fields along its length.
“If it goes ahead, this proposal could drive the future development of the entire coal seam gas industry on the east coast of Australia for decades to come,” Mr Sutton said.
“Given the current level of community concern about the damaging impacts of coal seam gas extraction, and emerging questions about the place of natural gas as a transition fuel in long term energy strategies for dealing with climate change, this development needs much more public exposure and discussion than it is now receiving,” Mr Sutton said.
“Local Greens will be meeting to discuss what local action we can take to increase general awareness of these developments and their potentially destructive impacts, and the alternatives available for a different future for Newcastle,” Mr Sutton said.
For further information or comment, please contact John Sutton (Spokesperson, Newcastle Greens), on 4969 2668 or 0411 154 004.