Greens introduce Clean Air Bill to reduce coal power emissions

NSW Greens MP and Environment Spokesperson Cate Faehrmann has introduced a Bill into the NSW Parliament to limit the amount of toxic air pollution from NSW coal fired power stations.  Currently the standards for emissions in NSW are much lower than in the EU, US or China with power stations allowed to emit eight and a half times more sulphur dioxide and seven and half times more oxides of nitrogen than the EU and China.

The Protection of the Environment Operations Amendment (Clean Air) Bill 2018 amends the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997 to improve air quality and reduce adverse impacts on human health by providing for the standards of concentration for emissions of certain air impurities that are not to be exceeded in respect of coal-fired power stations in NSW.

The Bill will limit the standards of concentration for nitrogen dioxide, sulphur dioxide, PM2.5 to the pollutions limits set by the EU in 2010 and mercury to the current limit in the US.

“In Australia, we have some of the worst regulation of pollution from coal fired power stations in the world and it is killing people,” said Greens MP and Environment Spokesperson Cate Faehrmann.

“Toxic emissions of Sulphur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, particulate matter and mercury from Australia’s power stations are multiple times higher than what is allowed in the EU, the US and China and this is unacceptable.

“There is a clear link between air pollution from power stations and health impacts, especially on children and the elderly. 

“As politicians, if we do not take urgent action to force the power stations to clean up their pollution then we will be responsible for the numerous deaths and hospitalisations that these toxic emissions will cause.”

“That is why the Greens have introduced a Bill to parliament to set emissions limits which are in line with the rest of the world.”

“The technology is available to make this change, what is lacking is the political will to put people’s health above the mega profits of power companies,” Ms Faehrmann said.


Comparison of current NSW standards and those proposed by the Bill


Air impurity


Concentration proposed by the Bill

International concentration standard

NSW current standards

(varies between stations)

Nitrogen dioxide (NO2) or Nitric oxide (NO) or both, as NO2 equivalent

200 mg/m3

200 mg/m3 China

150 mg/m3 European Union

1100-1500 mg/m3

Sulphur dioxide (SO2)

200 mg/m3

200 mg/m3 China

130 mg/m3 European Union

1716 mg/m3

Atmospheric particles

20 mg/m3

30 mg/m3 China

8 mg/m3 European Union

50-100 mg/m3

Mercury (Hg)

1.5 μg/m3

1.5 μg/m3 United States

4 μg/m3 European Union

200-1000 μg/m3


It follows a submission from Environmental Justice Australia into the current review into the Environmental Protection Licenses for the Eraring, Mount Piper and Vales Point power stations. The reviews are due to conclude on 24 December (Vales Point), 1 January (Mt Piper) and 6 January (Eraring). The EPLs for Bayswater and Liddell power stations are not due until January 2020 and May 2022.


Contact: Jack Gough – 0427 713 101

Join 18,058 other supporters in taking action

Share this page