In a big win for humanity and common sense, the Federal Government has finally withdrawn taxpayer funding from HRL, the proposed new brown coal-fired power station in the Latrobe Valley. This should hopefully mean that the Baillieu Government will now withdraw its $50 million commitment, and the whole project will be dead.
The deadline for HRL to meet certain milestones was extended 6 times – but thanks to the work of Environment Victoria, Greenpeace, Quit Coal and many other community climate groups, including volunteers from Yarra Climate Action Now, extending the deadline once again beyond 30 June became politically untenable for the Gillard Government. Now the money can be used for something else, something productive rather than destructive.
Due to the immense power of the fossil fuel lobby, our wins can be few and far between, so this is truly one to savour. We hope it marks beginning of the end for all our coal-fired power stations, which must be urgently replaced with renewable energy like solar thermal and wind power.
HRL tried to present their technology as “clean coal”, but luckily, no one in the public bought it (our politicians did of course). There is no such thing as clean coal, and any mention of it is an unnecessary delay of the transition to zero emissions.
How did we do it? With hard work. We organised petitions, doorknocked, held rallies, locked-on in government buildings, challenged the project in court and sent countless emails. The Victorian Environment Protection Authority (EPA), which shamefully approved the proposal, received over 4000 submissions on the project, the most they had ever received.
Below is a selection of some of the key moments along the way. Get the full story at Greenpeace’s How people power stopped a new coal power station.
1. Quit Coal protesters chain themselves together in the foyer of the Premier’s office while others rally outside on 11 April 2011 – media coverage
2. Quit Coal makes their pledge video
3. Environment Victoria, Doctors for the Environment, Locals into Victoria’s Environment (LIVE) and individual Martin Shields challenge the EPA’s approval of the HRL project in court (the challenge was defeated)
4. Greenpeace Stop HRL video
5. Rally 1 Feb 2012 after the second last “deadline” of 31 December 2011 had passed and HRL had still not met any milestones.