Aug 14, 2017

Conflict over floodwater fine

Conflict over floodwater fine

Adani-owned Abbot Point Bulk Coal has criticised the State Government over its handling of a fine regarding an alleged stormwater release during Cyclone Debbie.

The company ‘strongly rejected’ that it allowed contaminated floodwater to flow into abutting marine environment from the coal handling facility and said it was considering its options regarding the $12,190 fine imposed for the alleged breach.

“APB is disappointed that Department of Environment and Heritage Protection has released details of the fine to media but did not detail the fine notices issued to other parties following Cyclone Debbie,” it said in a written statement.

The Department of Environment and Heritage Protection (EHP) said today it had received several media requests about stormwater release at Abbot Point and subsequently decided to issue a statement with details.

A spokesman confirmed EHP had also investigated other companies for unauthorised storm water release during Tropical Cyclone Debbie.

“EHP issued a Penalty Infringement Notice to APBC Pty Ltd, Sunland Enterprises Pty Ltd and Yarrabee Coal Company Pty Ltd.
The department also issued a Direction Notice to Glencore Coal Company Pty Ltd and Rockhampton Regional Council,” he said.

Abbott Point Bulk Coal has until Thursday to elect to contest the penalty infringement notice in court.

In its media release on the issue on Friday, the department said it had  issued the company with a $12,190 penalty infringement notice (PIN) on July 20 for breaching conditions of a temporary emissions licence (TEL) that was issued to the company on March 27 this year.

The TEL granted during the cyclone permitted an elevated suspended solid limit (100 mg per litre) on stormwater releases from the terminal during the high rainfall associated with the event.

However, the department said the company advised EHP on  April 6 that a non-compliance with the conditions of the TEL had occurred with a release of stormwater containing suspended solids recorded at 806 mg per litre.

“Temporary emissions licences and environmental authorities are not taken lightly by the department and there can be harsh penalties for companies that breach their approvals,” the department said.