Category Archives: Washington H Soul Pattinson

COAL DUMP MUST CLOSE

MEDIA RELEASE

OAKEY COAL ACTION ALLIANCE INC  and CLEAN AIR QUEENSLAND

NEW HOPE IN BREACH OF REGULATIONS. COAL DUMP MUST CLOSE

                                                                           August 21th 2014

It is official; air pollution at Jondaryan is regularly exceeding national and International health standards. This includes total suspended particles (fine suspended dust or TSP) and small particulates (PM10).  Both these measures prove serious ongoing pollution arising from the huge New Hope Coal stockpile next to the railway line, at levels known to be injurious to health.

A complaint has been lodged with the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection, the Premier and the Health Minister by the Oakey Coal Action Alliance, on behalf of those residents of Jondaryan who are suffering ongoing health symptoms due to the proximity of the coal dump to their homes.

The President of OCAA, explains: ‘The Government is well aware of more than a decade of complaints about this controversial coal dump. After relentless pressure they finally agreed to install and conduct a real time air monitoring study for 12months. This new monitor is located close to homes and reads hourly wind direction and particulate pollution (unlike New Hope’s own recording which they measure twice a year in favourable wind conditions, or monthly with cruder funnel type monitors). This sophisticated and accurate real-time monitor has been operational since March this year and every month since we are seeing pollution levels in great excess to Australian Health Standards. On most days of each month Jondaryan air quality is worse than any other place in Queensland. This includes Gladstone, Moranbah and Mt Isa.’

Clean Air Queensland convenor, Mr Michael Kane agrees; ‘This Government must act on this chronic pollution problem. There is now irrefutable evidence that this facility is breaching the Environmental Authority set by DEHP as well as Health Standards that have to be met even by third world countries, let alone developed nations like Australia. There is no point in having these standards if community health is ignored. Our organisation is well aware of people in this town suffering respiratory symptoms, breathlessness, headaches and sleep deprivation. There are days when simple physical tasks are impossible. These homes are virtually worthless and people live in a coal fog on some days and nights, especially in easterly winds which blow over the stockpile.’

New Hope Coal and its parent company Washington Soul Pattison has been in the news regarding more than $700,000 donations to the State and Federal LNP. The OCAA says it is ironic that a leading pharmaceutical and health brand thinks nothing about creating dangerous public health problems on the Darling Downs.

‘They want to expand this mine, and the new coal dumps they keep promising away from Jondaryan are just as bad. One 200,000 tonne, 21metre high dump will be closer to families with children than this current monstrosity,’ OCAA spokesperson said.

Clean Air Queensland and Oakey Coal Action Alliance are united in saying: ‘It is time the Jondaryan coal dump was shut. Premier Newman and the LNP are on notice to put family’s health ahead of  corporate donations.’

   Links Jondaryan Air Quality Government Monitoring

Figures; Jondaryan Air Quality (for August 2014 and monthly averages) from new Government monitor located near residences. Seven days of this month have shown excess levels of air pollution (above the red line)

 

 

Pinocchio Moments from New Hope Community Reference Group!

Well…just when we thought a February meeting statement from the New Hope handpicked and carefully orchestrated CRG took the prize ‘there are no health impacts from coal and we will provide a fact sheet to prove it!’ there is another whopper in the May minutes. In response to a question about off site water discharge from the Acland mining operations, Manager Jim Randall replied:

‘The only water to leave the site was in evaporation or in the coal after washing’

Do they really think people are that gullible? OCAA has written to the Chair of the group, Professor Cuthill to highlight what are common practices at Acland (and most other Queensland mines). When heavy rains occur such as January 2011 and Jan 2013 New Hope pumped water from their full environmental dams into Lagoon Creek (which flows through farmland and the township of Jondaryan into Oakey Creek and hence the Condamine and Murray Darling systems). The Qld government give mining companies permission to perform such water and land pollution  after a little ‘creek side test’ by the company of water pH and electrical conductivity ‘proving’ the water is safe …

In our letter we showed photos of the 10 days worth of pumping during January 2013 (the rainfall hardly warranted any pumping, let alone that duration-they obviously wanted their mine water storage emptied out while they could). We also showed filthy, black, disgusting looking storm water running out of the Jondaryan coal dump site to enter Lagoon Creek. Furthermore we included the company’s own Stage 3 Terms of Reference Water Management Overview Flow Chart showing water handling at Acland (Fig 12 of TOR). There is a section of this chart clearly labelled ‘off site water discharges!’

Now if we are getting really picky we could have included photos of the January 2012 discharges of coal straight into the Brisbane River at New Hope’s bulk handling facility, for which the company  received nothing more than a light tap on the wrist from DEHP and a note to continue to use hay bales to block the disgorgement of coal if required. We wondered whether the couple of hay bales used (small ones, mind you), originated from New Acland Pastoral?? A nice cost cutting measure from the ‘low cost coal miner’ there!

Note to the Shareholders of Washington H. Soul Pattinson (including the Pharmacy, Health and Beauty Chain) and New Hope Coal: Our communities demand much better care of our farms, communities, soil and waterways. We also expect the truth.

We reiterate : OCAA sees no benefit in meeting with this group-  its prime purpose (and belated timing) is to tick a box for the Coordinator General in an attempt to gain Stage 3 approval. We offer words of warning to Jimbour Action Group or any other  farming community unfortunate enough to be in the cross hairs of this company…