A key priority of NSW’s new top environmental pollution regulator must be deterring and reducing
toxic emissions from the coal industry, one of the state’s most polluting sectors, according to the
Nature Conservation Council of NSW.
"The re‐opening of the Orica facility responsible for toxic leaks near Newcastle does little to allay
concerns about the repeated breaches by the company, and the broader failures of industrial
pollution regulation in NSW,” Chief Executive Officer Pepe Clarke said today.
“Every year, industrial facilities across NSW release hundreds of millions of kilograms of pollution
into our air, water and soil. Coal‐fired power stations and coal mining are a significant source of
risk to community health and the natural environment, and require urgent attention from the
“In his new role at the Australian Coal Association, outgoing environmental regulator Greg Sullivan
may well find himself across the table from a new regulator discussing how sustained reductions in
pollution, for air and water in particular, can be achieved by the coal industry.
“Coal mining is by far the largest source of arsenic pollution in rivers and waterways across the
state. Coal mining is among the top six sources of air pollution by mercury, arsenic, oxides of
nitrogen, volatile organic compounds, carbon monoxide and particulates in NSW.
“Coal‐fired electricity generation is the state’s largest source of air pollution by mercury, oxides of
nitrogen and sulphur dioxide. Mercury can damage the nervous and immune systems, and little
work has been done on the potential cumulative impacts of the chemicals released into the air we
breathe, especially in vulnerable communities such as the Hunter Valley.
“The Nature Conservation Council urges the State government to take this opportunity to appoint
a strong, independent environmental regulator with the power and resources to crack down on
pollution breaches and drive sustained reductions in air, water and soil pollution,” Mr Clarke said.