About 200 community representatives will converge at Gwandalan for a Power and Pollution Summit on February 8 and 9.
The two-day national summit is being organised by the Hunter Community Environment Centre which sent invitations to representatives from coal power regions around the country to come together and discuss transition planning and pollution issues surrounding Australia’s ageing fleet of coal fired power stations.
The Centre last year published findings on accumulating heavy metals in Lake Macquarie, stemming from leaching coal ash dumps at the Vales Point and Eraring power stations.
Summit organiser, Jo Lynch, said communities around coal fired power stations must play a lead role in the transition of the energy sector.
“This summit is about exposing the possibilities and problems being identified through research, but it’s also a platform for people to begin working together to implement community led changes that will shape the transition of the energy sector unfolding right now,” Lynch said.
“The summit will resource people from key coal energy regions with knowledge and tools to positively shape the transition of their communities,” she said.
“Comprehensive environmental remediation is our priority for the transition, but we’re excited to have expert speakers from around Australia to add to the broader picture of the economic, governmental, industry and, importantly, community aspects of a just transition process,” Lynch said.
Among the speakers will be Lisa Evans, a senior attorney from the United State who specialises in hazardous waste law.
She will share her experience of how coal ash disasters have devastated communities in the US and how her team has been successful in changing the law to protect communities.
The Power and Pollution Summit will be held at Point Wolstoncroft Sport and Recreation Centre, Gwandala.
Jan 24 and 31
Environmental Justice Australia
Hunter Community Environment Centre