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ARTC caught out on misleading data – time to cover coal wagons

Media Release
Lee Rhiannon 10 Feb 2014

MEDIA RELEASE
10 February 2014

ARTC caught out on misleading data – time to cover coal wagons

Greens NSW Senator Lee Rhiannon has called on the Australian Rail and Track Corporation to cover coal wagons in light of new information that clearly identifies uncovered coal wagons as causing spikes in air particle pollution http://bit.ly/1lRDyGR.

“State and federal governments are protecting coal company profits by trying to hide or misrepresent crucial evidence that reveals high pollution levels linked with transporting coal in uncovered rail wagons,” Senator Rhiannon said. 

“The ARTC has the power to help reduce the public health impacts of coal transportation and they should move immediately to have mining companies pay the costs of covering all coal train wagons. 

“As the government body responsible for managing pollution reduction programs for the transport of coal in uncovered wagons the ARTC have failed to carry out their responsibilities. 

“Two ARTC reports on pollution from last year initially found there was no significant difference between the dust levels from loaded coal trains compared to other types of freight trains. We now know this data was not accurately assessed.

“Government documents obtained by the Hunter Community Environment Centre show there is a significant increase in pollution when coal trains pass. 

“This reveals what people in the Hunter community have long known - coal trains are a risk to public health.

“The new information reflects badly on the ARTC as it reveals that their reporting obligations are fundamentally flawed or deliberately deceptive. 

“The ARTC have consistently claimed that coal trains do not cause an increase in particle pollution. It is simply not acceptable for a government owned corporation to be knowingly misleading the public and putting public health at risk, all for the sake of the coal industry.

“The ARTC should stop doing the bidding of the coal industry. Coal trains should be covered, and the coal industry should be the ones to pay,” Senator Rhiannon said. 

Further comment: 0487 350 880 

For further information on the GIPA documents, contact James Whelan from the Hunter Community Environment Centre on 0431 150 928

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