Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA) has charged a number of companies with air pollution offences under the Environment Protection Act 1970 following a comprehensive investigation into the Hazelwood mine fire which started on 9 February 2014.
The companies that have been charged are:
- National Power Australia Investments Limited
- Hazelwood Pacific Pty Ltd
- Australian Power Partners B.V.
- Hazelwood Churchill Pty Ltd.
The charges allege that the relevant companies, as occupiers of the Hazelwood Coal Mine when the fire occurred, caused pollution of the atmosphere contrary to section 41(1) of the Environment Protection Act .
EPA has charged each of the four companies with three offences pursuant to section 41 of the Act (a total of 12 charges). These charges allege that, as a result of the fire, the atmosphere in the region of the mine was so changed as to make, or be reasonably expected to make, the atmosphere:
- noxious or poisonous or offensive to the senses of human beings
- harmful or potentially harmful to the health, welfare, safety or property of human beings
- detrimental to any beneficial use made of the atmosphere.
As this matter is now before the court and EPA’s investigation is continuing, it would be inappropriate for EPA to make any further comment.