Commenting on the impacts of the coal industry in the Hunter and Australia's responsibility to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, Greens Senator for NSW Lee Rhiannon has called for the proposed T4 coal loader to be cancelled not postponed (Newcastle Herald, 25/06/12 http://tiny.cc/buofgw).
"The coal and shipping companies executives who are pushing for a fast turnaround of coal exports out of Newcastle Port are ignoring the serious health and environmental impacts the coal industry is having on the people of the Hunter," Senator Rhiannon said.
"Shipping Australia chief executive Llew Russell should take note of the burden coal exports are already imposing on locals before he pushes for coal export expansion out of Newcastle Port.
"The way coal and shipping companies are colluding is another example of these companies working to boost their company profits with no regard to community well-being and the environment.
"I am yet to hear of any CEOs living near the coal port or the coal rail line.
"Coal dust is already a health issue and if the T4 coal loader goes ahead at least 40 more coal trains would travel through Newcastle and Maitland every day.
"The greenhouse gas emissions are huge. If T4 is built, an additional 120 million tonnes of coal would shipped out of Newcastle each year. When burned this coal would generate more than 280 million tonnes of greenhouse gases.
"This latest push to keep the T4 on track comes just a month after it was revealed that the Port Waratah Coal Service has not provided the public or the ACCC with any evidence that they have the 176.6 million tonnes per year in take or pay contracts that is required before T4 is built.
"This was revealed by the competition commission when I questioned ACCC representatives in Senate Estimates.
"Now that the economic justification for T4 has been thrown into question, the shipping and coal industry are stepping up their public pressure to get their way," Senator Rhiannon said.