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Vales Point cops fine for pollution one week after getting $8.7m federal government grant

The company that owns Vales Point Power Station last week received a $8.7 million federal government handout has been busted illegally dumping asbestos and other waste. [1]

The NSW Environment Protection Authority has issued two penalty notices to Vales Point operator Delta Electricity with fines totalling $30,000.

“How can the federal government justify giving our hard-earned taxpayer dollars to a company that treats the environment and our laws with such disdain?” Nature Conservation Council Campaigns Director Dr Brad Smith said.

“This company has been busted dumping toxic asbestos into an ash dam and spreading it over a very large area. [2] 

“The penalty imposed is far too light for such a serious breach — $30,000 is chump change for a man who has made hundreds of millions from deals with the NSW Government.”

Dr Smith said the federal government had no business funding a privately-owned coal-fired power station, especially one that showed such disregard for the environment.

“We call on the NSW Government to block the transfer of the federal grant money to Mr St Baker,” he said.

“We urge the federal government instead to spend that money cleaning up the state’s energy system.”

Mr St Baker applied for taxpayer subsidies under the federal government’s Underwriting New Generation Investments Program and has a record of gaining from government decisions. 

He bought Vales Point power station from the NSW Government for $1 million in 2015 and made $113 million in profit on the deal in 2017-18. 

Mr St Baker is also a regular political donor and a former National Party electoral candidate.  

References

[1] Vales Point Power Station fined $30,000 for pollution and waste offences, NSW EPA, 12 October 2020

[2] Environmental watchdog orders clean-up but residents furious about being kept in the dark, Newcastle Herald, 3-1-2019 

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