August 12, 2016 calls on AGL to close Liddell Power station after poisoned lake debacle continues

NEWCASTLE, 12 August 2016 — today called on energy company AGL — Australia’s biggest polluter — to bring forward the closure of its Liddell Power station after the company was forced to permanently close Lake Liddell to the public following prolonged contamination.

The company today announced the Lake will be permanently closed to public use after amoeba naegleria fowleri was detected in the water. This amoeba can cause a rare but fatal infection if people come in contact with it*.

“The Liddell Power station poses a unique health threat to the local community and I am deeply concerned about locals and tourists ignoring or not knowing about the lake closure and getting sick from this latest AGL contamination,” 350 campaigner, Josh Creaser said.

“If this is what the Liddell Power station is doing to the local lake, just imagine the impacts it is having on the health of local communities and surrounding ecosystems. AGL needs to come clean about how they are going to address their serious contamination problems to ensure they do not continue. Shutting down a lake to the public is not a solution, and this is just the latest in a long series of AGL incidents that threaten the health of local residents.

“AGL intends to keep Liddell it open for another five years at least. Since the company obviously can’t guarantee the safety of the station, we are calling on the company to bring forward the closure and ensure the site is properly rehabilitated and there is a transition plan for workers and the community.”

The local paper, the Muswellbrook Chronicle, suggested this will impact tourism in the region, including a campground and activities facility on site. The Muswellbrook Shire Council and NSW Government are working through the implications of the closure according to the local news article.

“This is a huge blow to the local community who use the lake as a recreational spot, as well as depending on it as a tourist attraction that helps support the local economy. But even bigger blows will be felt if AGL continues its business as usual approach on fossil fuels.”

AGL is currently facing challenges on several fronts. On Wednesday the company had a share price drop after posting an annual loss. Yesterday saw a report by the Melbourne Energy Institute suggesting that AGL exacerbated the recent South Australian energy crisis through deliberately pushing up power prices. Today AGL has announced the likely cancellation of hedging contracts with Portland Aluminium smelter, a major client for its Victorian power plant.

Media contact: Cambell Klose, Australia:  0490 436 948

*For more information on Amoeba Nagegleria: