MEDIA RELEASE: Doctors Applaud Coal Funding Cut as Positive Health Measure
Sunday July 29th 2012, For Immediate Release
Doctors for the Environment Australia welcome Friday’s announcement of the withdrawal of a $100 million dollar Federal Government grant to coal development company Dual Gas / HRL.
The money had been earmarked for a new coal-fuelled power station for the Latrobe Valley.
“Burning coal has serious implications for our health. Toxic pollutants released from coal cause lung and heart disease, and impact on the lung function of children.” said Dr Eugenie Kayak the Victorian Chair of Doctors for the Environment Australia.
“Coal is also a major cause of climate change which has enormous health impacts.”
In an unprecedented step for a health organisation, last year Doctors for the Environment Australia ran a legal challenge opposing the project due to concerns the plant would make local residents sick by releasing toxins into the air.
Consistent with DEA’s evidence at the hearing the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal imposed strict sulphur dioxide limits on the power station emissions.
Cancellation of the grant means that the project is very unlikely to proceed.
“We welcome the news that the grant has been withdrawn”, said Dr Eugenie Kayak.
“The evidence has mounted over recent years about the health impacts of coal. It is clearly time for Australia to join other developed countries in moving away from coal fired electricity generation to safer renewable energy.”
“This is a sensible decision which is a step forward for the health of the Victorian public now and into the future.”
The Victorian Government has yet to decide if it will withdraw its $50 million contribution to HRL.
For comment: Dr Eugenie Kayak 0419 685 574