The report of the Select Committee into the Kooragang Island Orica Leak, handed down today, clearly demonstrates the need for stronger regulation of large polluting facilities to protect local communities and the environment, according to the Nature Conservation Council of NSW.
The committee found Orica's initial response to the release of hexavalent chromium on 8 August was “grossly inadequate”, compounded by an “unacceptable” delay in the Environment Minister alerting the Stockton community and poor communication between government departments and agencies.
“A recurring theme in the evidence presented to the Inquiry was that Stockton residents have lost
confidence in Orica and the NSW government to do the right thing and protect our community and the environment from industrial pollution,” CEO Pepe Clarke said today.
“Stockton residents are not the only community members questioning whether government and industry are doing all they can for effective pollution control.
“In the months following the 8 August incident, Orica has self‐reported pollution breaches with alarming regularity. This pattern is repeated at many industrial facilities across the state with hundreds of millions of kilograms of pollution released into our air, water and soil each year.
“The legislative reforms announced following the Orica incident and the Inquiry recommendations are a step in the right direction, but the NSW government must take further action to reduce pollution of our air and water.
“The NSW government and Environment Minister Robyn Parker must send a clear signal to industry that compliance and risk management procedures must be improved substantially, in line with community expectations,” Mr Clarke said.
Download a copy of the Select Committee’s Inquiry into Kooragang Island Orica Chemical Leak report here: http://bit.ly/wFulsg