Herons Creek power station canned

June 21, 2008

On June 12, in the face of local outrage, Port Macquarie-Hastings Council pulled the plug on a controversial $110 million diesel-fired peak power plant in the iconic Camden Haven valley.

In-principle support was given by council in November 2006 for a gas-powered plant near Herons Creek to meet growing local demand. However, residents of the area only discovered in May that the plant was to be run on diesel, causing massive air and noise pollution only 300 metres from some houses, and close to a local school.

Burning diesel has been linked to cancer and a range of other health problems, and, according to NSW Greens MP John Kaye, would emit over 23,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide every year.

Outraged locals immediately formed an action group, Residents Against Power Polluters, and within two days had organised a public meeting of 600 people in Laurieton. A week later, on May 29, more than 500 people protested outside council chambers.

Local State MP Rob Oakeshott, a keen proponent of the power plant, backflipped in the face of the demonstration of people power and on June 12, bowing to pressure, the council announced that it wouldn't sell the land earmarked for the power plant, and withdrew its support for the project.

There is still concern that the plant could go ahead, however, as final the say rests with NSW development minister Frank Sartor.

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