Greens want coal terminal expansion stopped

The Greens have called on the Senate to block the construction of a fourth coal terminal at Kooragang Island amid growing public health concerns.

Senator Lee Rhiannon told the Newcastle Herald that although her notice of motion was not successful, she was determined to stop the terminal being built.

‘‘Last week’s shocking air pollution results along the Hunter rail corridor should be enough to finally push Labor and Coalition MPs to standing up to coal expansion,’’ she said.

‘‘It is not enough for them to furrow their brows and make concerned noises about the health impact on locals.’’

Rhiannon said she plans to attend a community rally against the coal loader on Saturday.

The Coal Terminal Action Group (CTAG) said they want the government to stop its assessment of the T4 coal terminal until a dust pollution test was carried out along Hunter’s coal corridor.

Late last year the group handed out 15,000 leaflets to local residents in a bid to stop the new terminal from going ahead.

"This is the biggest decision affecting our quality of life in Newcastle,’’ CTAG spokeswoman Cathy Burgess said.

‘‘A fourth coal terminal will have irreversible impacts on the health of our children and the air we breathe, so we’re letting the people of Newcastle know who is responsible for this important decision.

‘‘In pressing ahead with the assessment of this unpopular development, the NSW government is demonstrating contempt for the people of Newcastle, our environment and our health.”

In 2009, Port Waratah Coal Services was given the opportunity to build a new coal loading terminal as part of a wider long term agreement to service the Hunter's growing coal industry.

This was in addition to the two it already operates – the Carrington and Kooragang Coal Terminals. In 2010 the company began planning the export site's development.

The loader has been a contentious issue for Newcastle, drawing criticism from environmental groups, particularly over its dust management claims.

"Anybody who lives in Newcastle knows there is a blanketing of coal dust in many suburbs close to the coal loaders every day of the year, 365 days," Correct Planning and Consultation for Mayfield spokesperson John Hayes told The Newcastle Herald.

"There's a widespread view that spraying water and dust on the coal dust piles doesn't do much to suppress dust."

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