Mayor Stephen Lesslie said he hopes proponents of a waste to energy project at Mt Piper Power Station discuss the plan “as soon as feasible” with council.
“I am disappointed we have not had a chance to put in Lithgow Council’s view point on it. And I am expecting that when a Environmental Impact Statement is prepared Lithgow Council will be asked for comment and so will the people of Lithgow,” Mr Lesslie said.
“Lithgow Council will not be the consent authority, we will not be the body that makes the decision on this. Our role is to facilitate the citizens of Lithgow’s ability put in submissions and the ability top be fully and adequately informed of all the issues involved.
"It’s up to the proponents of this to convince the citizens of Lithgow what they’re putting forward has benefits over and above any potential down side to the project.”
EnergyAustralia announced on Monday that a feasibility study into the technical and financial aspects of burning non-recyclable waste to produce electricity at Mt Piper Power Station, alongside coal, found such a project to be viable.
EnergyAustralia along with its joint partner in the project, waste management company Re.Group will prepare an Environmental Impact Statement over the next 12 months.
At the outset of the study, announced in February this year, Mayor Lesslie described the project as a “win-win", telling the ABC, “We get extra power for New South Wales, we make sure that the base load for energy in New South Wales is maintained.”
However, in an interview with the Lithgow Mercury on Wednesday, Mr Lesslie said he was concerned about the output of the process and impacts on residents.
“My feeling is that the council is generally uncomfortable and unhappy about such a proposal of Lithgow being the waste dump for Sydney’s waste,” he said.
“I’m not so concerned about what goes in but what goes out, the toxicity of the product, the toxicity of the ash. And truckloads of waste, probably forever coming through our local government area.”
He also said that using Lithgow’s municipal waste in the process would not be an option, “it’s too small, that’s not viable.”
Earlier this year Mr Lesslie said he supported the diversification of energy production in Lithgow, but said this project was not what he was thinking.
“No, I don’t think so. This is a stop gap to renewable energy, this is something more permanent.”
If EnergyAustralia and Re.Group’s plan to divert 200,000 tonnes waste from landfill a year to produce electricity at Mt Piper goes ahead, it would be an Australian first. Mt Piper Power Station would not begin producing electricity from waste until 2021.
The companies will make a decision on whether to go ahead with the project in 2019.