EPA investigators are currently looking into effects of a botched blast at Mount Arthur Mine last Wednesday, which caused toxic fumes to spread several kilometres from the site. “We have begun an immediate investigation into the incident and have asked Mt Arthur to provide an incident report; It is important to have all the available evidence so the EPA can understand the circumstances leading to the blast fume leaving the mine site,
BHP Billiton has threatened to take the union representing coal train drivers to court in response to proposed strike action next week over stalled wage talks. BHP Mt Arthur Coal general manager Mark van den Heuvel has written to the Rail, Tram and Bus Industry Union saying the company will take "all necessary steps" including legal action to prevent harm to its business from any industrial action.
NSW laws governing mining company access to private land are ‘‘outrageously skewed against landowners’’, ‘‘grossly inadequate’’ and ‘‘unjust’’, and politicians are largely unaware of their devastating financial and emotional impact on individuals, say two former senior judges.
The Hunter Community Environment Centre welcomed the study, saying it took the community ‘‘one step closer to covering the millions of uncovered coal wagons that pollute coal corridor suburbs’’. But spokeswoman Fee Mozeley said the minerals council had made no mention of covering coal wagons, which she described as ‘‘the elephant in the room’’. Responding, Mr Galilee defended a decision not to focus on covering wagons,
Miners respond to coal dust up by commissioning new research - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)
The New South Wales Minerals Council says data shows coal trains do not have a significant impact on ambient air quality. But despite this it is joining with other industry stakeholders to fund new research, identifying factors that influence potential dust emissions from trains.
According to public policy analyst Dr Sara Bice, who penned the report, What Gives You A Social Licence?, Australian mining companies are employing debatable and ill-defined concepts of a social licence to justify their presence in local communities. "Mining companies are increasingly claiming to have a 'social licence' to operate in certain areas because of perceived benefits to the local community,"
A statistician will conduct an independent review of data on dust emissions in the Hunter Valley after a report handed down by the Australian Rail Track Corporation was slammed in a peer review. The state’s chief scientist said a statistician, who will be appointed in the coming weeks, would assess the data which made up the ARTC’s report.
imagine living less than five hundred metres from the world’s busiest coal train line with more than a hundred coal trains passing by your house every day. Each train hauls on average 100 uncovered coal wagons. That’s more than four million uncovered coal wagons each year! Then add to that a proposal for an addition coal terminal that would generate 50% more coal train movements every day. In Newcastle and the Lower Hunter, this is the lived experience of more than 30,000 people.
Hunter coal companies today announced more research into dust from coal trains. But while campaigners call for covered wagons, industry representatives claim the Hunter’s air quality is “good” – and that the trains don’t have a significant impact.
Coal mining does makes a contribution to particle pollution, along with most other industries and activities that are part of our modern society. Everything from cars and other machinery, sea spray, smoke from wood fires and dust from earth moving and agriculture.
Documents released under FOI and obtained by the Labor Opposition reveal that the EPA falsely claimed that there were not elevated levels of air pollution from coal train wagons, and covered up crucial facts concerning coal dust pollution in the Hunter Valley rail corridor.
The Illawarra has got behind a statewide campaign calling on the government to order the coal industry to cover its rail wagons to protect community health. Wollongong Greens councillor Jill Merrin, along with concerned residents, will circulate a petition at shops and train stations across the region in the coming weeks, seeking support for the plan. The Hunter Community Environment Centre (HCEC) launched the petition last week, in partnership with community groups in coal-affected regions across the state
PLOS ONE: Short Term Effects of Particle Exposure on Hospital Admissions in the Mid-Atlantic States: A Population Estimate
We observed associations between short-term exposure to PM2.5 and hospitalization for all outcomes examined. For example, for every 10-µg/m3 increase in short-term PM 2.5 there was a 2.2% increase in respiratory diseases admissions (95% CI = 1.9 to 2.6), and a 0.78% increase in cardiovascular disease (CVD) admission rate (95% CI = 0.5 to 1.0). We found differences in risk for CVD admissions between people living in rural and urban areas. For every10-µg/m3 increase in PM 2.5 exposure in the ‘rural’ group there was a 1.0% increase (95% CI = 0.6 to 1.5), while for the ‘urban’ group the increase was 0.7% (95% CI = 0.4 to 1.0).
Ambre Energy's Columbia River coal export terminal gets key state permits, but a new hurdle is added | OregonLive.com
The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality approved Ambre Energy’s air quality, water quality and construction storm water permits. But the project isn’t a done deal yet. It needs state and federal permits, as well as a new DEQ approval. DEQ, the state environmental regulator, said Ambre would need an unexpected approval to ensure construction doesn’t pollute the Columbia River, a step sought by project opponents.
Environment Minister Andrew Powell says Government will consider recommendation to cover coal wagons | The Courier-Mail
A SENATE inquiry recommendation that coal wagons be covered to prevent coal dust pollution is being considered by the Newman Government. The inquiry into the impacts of air quality on health in Australia handed down its report last week. It found measures such as the covering of coal wagons were "appropriate regulatory steps to take towards minimising the impact of coal emissions on vulnerable communities".
“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.
The NSW Minerals Council’s 2012-13 Economic Impact Survey found that there were 2,155 direct mining employees residing in the Maitland electorate. The survey also found that local mining companies spent $894 million with 879 local business in Maitland, with this spending contributing indirectly to an additional 12,400 local jobs.
Environmentalists accuse officials of dust cover up - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)
Hunter Environmentalists are claiming the state's environmental officials are more concerned with PR spin than the health of residents. The Hunter Community Environment Centre has obtained 3,000 pages of documents under freedom of information that it says prove the E-P-A and Minister Robyn Parker knew that coal trains cause a significant amount of pollution. But the documents reveal the E-P-A had written a draft press release stating coal trains did not increase pollution before seeing the results of a study into the matter.
Coal Dust Pollution, Dirty White Pants, And Coverups: The Consequences Of Exporting Coal | ThinkProgress
O’Farrell is embroiled in another controversy involving the HCEC in which the group has accused New South Wales Environment Minister Robyn Parker of covering up evidence relating to the amount of air pollution coming from coal trains. After obtaining thousands of government documents under freedom of information requests, the HCEC says that Parker was part of a systematic coverup of the evidence, and that her team drafted a press release stating that coal trains did not increase pollution even before seeing the results of a study into the matter.