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Labor should not use dodgy ARTC coal dust study to belittle health concerns

Media Release
Lee Rhiannon 31 May 2013

Greens Senator for NSW Lee Rhiannon has warned the Labor government against using a deficient ARTC study released today to shirk its responsibility to carefully consider the health impacts of coal dust.

"The ARTC report is compromised by methodological shortcomings, has not been independently reviewed and fails to consider the cumulative health impacts of dust from coal stockpiles, mining and road and rail transport," Senator Rhiannon said.

"This latest ARTC study should not be used by the Labor government to abandon its responsibilities to people living in the Hunter region when faced with $3.5 billion dollars in coal rail infrastructure and a fourth coal terminal.

"International and domestic health experts are clear that fine particles in coal dust compromise human health. Denying this is like denying climate science.

"Combined action from federal and state governments to set proper standards, monitor air quality, cover coal wagons and reject new coal mining developments is the responsible course of action.

"If the Minister for Infrastructure Anthony Albanese cared more about the dangers of coal dust to community health in the Hunter he would quickly move to require that coal wagons are covered and proper air quality monitoring systems are established.

"There has never been a comprehensive study of the cumulative health impacts of coal in the Hunter. Leaning on a study like this to prove anything is dangerous.

"What we do know is that there is no known safe level of exposure to particulate pollution. The direct causal link between particulate pollution and adverse health impacts such as asthma and increased risks of cancer cannot be ignored.

"The Greens will continue to campaign for the T4 to be scrapped and the $3.5 billion in coal rail infrastructure to be spent on infrastructure that diversifies the Hunter economy, grows renewable energy and makes Newcastle and regional towns in the Hunter cleaner, healthier and more liveable," Senator Rhiannon said.


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