Classic! Some people might say it was a waste of time BUT ANZ has agreed to meet with GreenPeace to discuss their investment in the coal industry, after it was revealed that they are the largest investor of the 4 major banks in Australia!
The controversial proposed Colton Coal mine hit a snag three weeks ago when the Department of Environment and Resource Management sent the Environmental Management Plan (EMP), submitted by Northern Energy Corporation (NEC), back to the drawing board because the EMP had not adequately address how NEC could mitigate the environmental impacts to Ground water and discharges of contaminated water to the Mary River. NEC has 12 months to re-submit the EMP to DERM demonstrating how they can effectively mitigate the impacts, if this cannot be done, an Environmental Authority (EA) will not be issued and permission to extract coal will not be given.
NEC reported to the media this week that they are still very confident to extraction will begin in early 2012, though without approval this simply will not occur. WBBCC’s stance is that this fight is simply not over yet and we will continue to lobby the government to not approve this project. Members of WBBCC will meet with senior DERM beuracrats next week to discuss our concerns regarding the environmental impacts that will result from this project, should it be approved.
The Federal Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities announced last week that the project would not be listed as a controlled action under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC). Though WBBCC is disapointed with this decision, the environmental constraints surrounding the project are largely covered by State Legislation and without State approval, the project will not proceed regardless of the Federal decision.
NEC may be increasingly confident that nothing stands in the way of their project being approved but they must not forget that WBBCC simply does not rest until we achieve the desired outcome and for us, that is, NO MINING in the Wide Bay Burnett! We would suggest that NEC take a good look at the Traveston Dam scenario. People power and an intricate knowledge of legislation and environmental law stopped that project and we will not give in until this project is merely a distant memory of something to never came to fruition.
WBBCC spotted this on ABC’s The New Inventors Program last night. The technology is still a couple of years away from being complete, but when released, this will enable everyone to have solar painted roof capable of producing large amounts of renewable energy at a fraction of the current cost. This invention may see the end of coal fired electricity in the not so distant future.
The Queensland government has signed an agreement to co-operate with an alliance between Origin Energy and PNG Energy Developments that plan to build a Hydro Plant in PNG that will provide North QLD with a direct boost of power in the form of around 1200 megawatts per day, 10% of QLD electricity demand by 2020, but is it right to source power from a hydro plant in another country when we could be producing the equivalent in renewables right here in QLD? Plus, the renewable energy boost will not be considered to contribute towards the Federal Governments 20% renewables commitment by 2020, as the current laws do not allow electricity sources internationally. Massive investment in residential grid connect solar systems could produce the equivalent of this project and it would all be produced by the QLD sun and fed into the QLD grid. Plus, is it ethical to purchase so called ‘renewable energy’ from a hydro project in another country when we do not entirely know what the environmental impacts and consequences may be?
Tells us your thoughts by leaving a comment below.
The Wide Bay Burnett Conservation Council takes great pleasure in welcoming Larissa Waters in her new position as Greens Senator for QLD! WBBCC has worked with Environmental Lawyer Larissa Waters in the past on the Paradise Dam Legal Case and we wish her all the best in her role as a Greens Senator. Good on you Larissa, the environment of QLD will surely benefit from your new role.
The Wide Bay Burnett Conservation Council has welcomed the inclusion of the very first Greens MP, Adam Bandt and Independents Rob Oakshott and Tony Windsor, in the newly formed Labor Minority government. The addition of the two country independents and a Greens MP will work to the benefit of the Environment and Regional Australia and have the ability to ensure the Labor Government is kept accountable and transparent. MP Tony Windsor is strongly advocating for increased investment in Renewable Energy Projects and sees an economic and social benefit for regional Australians by investing in Renewable Energy Projects in regional areas. WBBCC has advocated for this type of investment during the election campaign understanding that the demographics of this area include many regional and rural communities that could vastly benefit from a substantial increase in investment for Renewable Projects that will begin the transition from a heavily reliant fossil fuel industry to a cleaner, more sustainable energy industry powered by renewables. MP Rob Oakshott has indicated a strong interest in placing a price on carbon so with the inclusion of Greens MP Adam Bandt and the agreement reached between Labor and the Greens to scrap the citizens assembly and move to a climate change committee made up of climate change experts, we should finally see some real legislative action on climate change. Labors backflip on the CPRS resulted in a massive swing to the Greens, so it is vastly beneficial that the Greens have been able to negotiate a strong move forward within government, on this issue.
WBBCC meets with Federal Environment Minister to discuss Open Cut Coal Mining Proposals in the Lower Mary CatchmentJuly 27, 2010
WBBCC took the opportunity on Friday afternoon to award the Federal Environment Minister with a Distinguished Services Medal, in the form of a WBBCC polo shirt, for outstanding services to the protection of the Queensland Lungfish, a living dinosaur.
“ This was the least that the members of WBBCC could do after a decade of struggle to, protect the species , given the Ministers decisions to not approve Traveston Dam and not to change the EPBC approval conditions for Paradise Dam. The Mining sector might have Big Clive and Shrubby Forrest, but the conservation sector has Peter Garrett” said WBBCC President and Water Policy Officer Roger Currie .
The Minister was attending an awards ceremony in Buddina, on the Sunshine Coast, to acknowledge the outstanding contribution SEQ Catchments had made in cleaning up the devastating oil spill off Moreton Island back in 2009. When WBBCC received information that the Minister would be in the area, a formal meeting request was submitted to his office and WBBCC’s request was successful.
“The Federal Environment Minister graciously agreed to meet with us and allocated 30 minutes of his time to listen to our concerns. The Minister received a personal thank you on behalf of the WBBCC members and participated in an informal meeting to discuss environmental issues in the electorates of Wide Bay and Hinkler”, said WBBCC Coordinator Miss Emma-Kate Currie.
Major topics for discussion included the current and future proposals for open cut mining in the lower Mary catchment and whether this type of development would be considered to be compatible with the protection of the Mary Turtle, Lungfish and the Great Sandy RAMSAR values, as well as the values of the Great Sandy Biosphere and proposed expansion of the World Heritage Area.
“This gave us the opportunity to indicate the potential risks to all MNES ( Matters of National Environmental Significance ) associated with the lower Mary catchment , and how these key ‘Environmental Matters’, go hand in hand with the economic values of the regions Recreational and Commercial fishing and Tourism Industries”, said Miss Currie.
The Minister was also briefed on the failings of the Mary Water Resource Plan to meet the requirements of the National Water Initiative (NWI), to adequately protect the low flow regime of the Mary River, which is a key protection and sustainability mechanism for the fisheries productivity of the Great Sandy RAMSAR wetlands.
Discussion was also held on the progression of a Mary River species recovery plan, the rehabilitation of the Queensland government owned properties, and potential impacts to the lower Mary catchment from the massive earthworks associated with the Cooroy to Curra highway upgrade at Federal.
The issue of the Shen Neng was raised, and the necessity for a bilateral strategic assessment of the likely risks to marine values from coal expansion in QLD. The Minister is open to cooperation with the QLD Government and the Premier has now indicated that the state is ready to engage on the issue.
“This is a positive indication from both Premier Bligh and Minister Garrett and may hopefully ensure that the Marine Parks of Queensland will be protected from future incidents like the Shen Neng”, said Miss Currie.
Minister Garrett was also given a copy of WBBCC environmental election score card, which he considered to be a very positive way of allowing candidates to publicly display their knowledge of environmental protection under Federal legislation.
Miss Currie closed the meeting with the following statement: “ It’s my fathers fault that I have the power and the passion Minister, I was a child victim of the music of Midnight Oil”.
WBBCC has produced an Environmental Score Card for Candidates in the Seats of Hinkler and Wide Bay in order to provide the public with an indication of which candidates rank from highest to lowest based on their ‘Environmental Credentials’.
WBBCC Coordinator, Miss Emma-Kate Currie said, “We would encourage all candidates to take the time to address each issue and provide policies detailing how they will deal with each issue and whether or not they endorse a particular project, for instance, the proposed Colton Coal Mine at Aldershot.”
“We have asked candidates that they return a detailed document covering all 10 issues to WBBCC by COB on Wednesday 11th August. We will then tally the results based on a 0-5 stars per score per policy and give each candidate an overall score out of 50. WBBCC will publish the results on Monday 16th August via the regional media and on the WBBCC Website.”
The 10 issues listed range from Open Cut Coal Mining/ Coal Seam Gassification in the Mary River Catchment, to Climate Change/Renewable Energies, Sustainable Population Strategies, Biodiversity Protection and Increase Protection for Marine Parks from ‘Place of Refuge’ orders allowing damaged coal carriers such as the Shen Neng 1 to be anchored and offloaded within Marine Park boundaries.
If you have made a donation to WBBCC during the 2009-2010 financial year and require your tax-deductible receipt, please contact us via email or phone and we will pop yours in the mail for you. As a conservation principal, it makes sense to only send out receipts to people who actually want them. Navigate to our ‘About WBBCC’ page for our contacts. Thank you again to everyone who has so generously made donations to WBBCC so we can continue with our conservation objectives.