Abbot Point Bulkcoal: No environmental harm from cyclone stormwater release - Magistrates hearing adjourned

11-Dec-2018 11:23 AM

Bowen, Queensland - Hearing of the matter relating to Abbot Point BulkCoal’s (APB) management of stormwater under a Temporary Emissions Licence (TEL) during Tropical Cyclone Debbie in 2017, which was listed to be heard in the Bowen Magistrates Court today has been adjourned.

The adjournment was a joint request to the Bowen Magistrate that was consented to by both the complainant (Department of Environment and Sciences (DES)) and APB as the respondent.

The Queensland Government has previously acknowledged that no environmental harm to the World Heritage Area or marine environment was caused as a result of stormwater discharge during the cyclone.

APB has categorically refuted any wrongdoing in the matter as we fully complied with the conditions imposed by the TEL.

We have therefore elected to have the matter heard by a Magistrate rather than pay a $12,190 fine which should not have been issued and we look forward to a resolution of the matter.

The previous matter relating to Tropical Cyclone Debbie brought against APB by the Queensland Department of Environmental Science was set aside by the Environmental and Planning Court in September when APB was cleared of causing any environmental harm to the Caley Valley Wetlands during or following the cyclone.

The Department of Environment and Science (DES) issued the Environmental Evaluation notice to APB in September 2017, following misleading allegations produced by anti-mining groups.

APB CEO Mr Dwayne Freeman said the Environmental Evaluation notice was issued despite a sediment monitoring program and environmental assessment following the cyclone, and then again in March 2018 which was conducted by DES, along with assistance from the Department of Science, Information Technology and Innovation (DSITI) and CSIRO, confirming there was no evidence of environmental harm.

“The port has been the subject of many false and misleading claims including that we had polluted wetlands during Cyclone Debbie,” Mr Freeman said.

“The Court’s decision in September was clear acknowledgement that there was no reasonable grounds to issue the Environmental Evaluation, as no evidence of environmental harm ever existed.

“APB is held to the same strict environmental regulations as all other Queensland ports and we take that responsibility very seriously. 

“It is disappointing that anti-mining activists continue to use misleading satellite images of the wetlands in an attempt to damage our reputation.

“Like those other Queensland companies, we ask to be judged on the facts only and we continue to act with integrity and honesty and protect the environment we operate in.”