Greenpeace launches report on coal ash in Port Augusta

ENVIRONMENT: Greenpeace representatives touched down in Port Augusta on March 2 to launch a new report alongside Port Augusta Dustbusters members.
ENVIRONMENT: Greenpeace representatives touched down in Port Augusta on March 2 to launch a new report alongside Port Augusta Dustbusters members.

Greenpeace has accused Alinta Energy of creating Flinders Power as a ‘shell company' to ‘avoid footing the bill’ to rehabilitate the Augusta Power Stations site.

Following the launch of a ‘Justice for Port Augusta’ crowdfunder, Greenpeace Australia Pacific released a report titled ‘Done and Dusted? Cleaning up coal ash in Port Augusta’ on Friday, March 2 with the help of local group Port Augusta Dustbusters.

The report focuses on what Greenpeace has labelled a failed effort to remediate the site, including Bird Lake and the Ash Dam, following the closure of the coal-fired power station in May 2016.

Greenpeace Australia Pacific campaigner Alix Foster Vander Elst said the people of Port Augusta have been dealing with harmful dust events for more than a year.

“The South Australian government appears to have allowed Alinta to set up Flinders Power to undertake a barely minimum rehabilitation, which could see them potentially run out of money before the area is fully liveable and leave the state with the bill,” Ms Foster Vander Elst said.

“Caught in the middle of this are the residents of Port Augusta who have to take to refuge indoors when clouds of coal dust roll through their town bringing sickness and despair.”

The report recommends that Flinders Power discloses how much funding it has remaining to complete the remediation project and clarify to the community what funding has been set aside for the post-completion monitoring period.

Greenpeace also called for Flinders Power to add rocks, windbreaks and a capillary break layer to the ash dam to minimise wind erosion of topsoil and help vegetation thrive.

Flinders Power slammed Greenpeace’s report for being ‘manifestly incorrect’ and ‘very likely to mislead’.

“Flinders Power is fully funded to progress works and meet all its obligations for site remediation in accordance with comprehensive plans approved by the relevant regulatory authorities,” a Flinders Power spokesperson said. 

“We were not consulted in the development of the Greenpeace report.”

The spokesperson said dust continues to be managed in accordance with Dust Management Plans approved by the Environment Protection Authority.

For the full Greenpeace report, click here.