Sunday, December 30, 2012

China’s Corals Fall Victim to 'Wicked Environmental Problems' | Environment News Service

China’s Corals Fall Victim to 'Wicked Environmental Problems' | Environment News Service:
China’s coral reefs have declined by 80 percent in the past three decades, destroyed by the consequences of economic development, finds a new international scientific study.

The first comprehensive survey of the state of corals along mainland China and in the South China Sea gives a grim picture of decline, degradation and destruction resulting from coastal development, pollution and overfishing.

The study by Professor Terry Hughes and Matthew Young of the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies and James Cook University in Townsville, and Dr. Hui Huang of the South China Sea Institute of Oceanology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, is published in the current online issue of the journal “Conservation Biology.”

Friday, December 28, 2012

LNG WATCH: Australia adamant in supporting PNG LNG project

LNG WATCH: Australia adamant in supporting PNG LNG project:

 “It’s right that Australia should be there helping PNG in relation to what has the potential to be a transformational project for that country. So, it is easy to criticise these projects, at the end of the day, it’s happening, it matters greatly that it works well, and we need to be there, being the best friend that we can be and supporting that project.”

Stop the dredge spoil dump off Holbourne Island National Park - GBR Marine Park.

Stop the dredge spoil dump off Holbourne Island National Park - GBR Marine Park.:
Why this is important
Port expansions at Abbot Point coal port will require upwards of some 3 million cubic metres of dredging which will then be dumped 10km south of Holbourne Island National Park. Holbourne Island is mapped as a Conservation Park Marine Zone and is designated as a future climate change refuge area for wildlife within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. Some 4 km to the south of Holbourne Island is Nares Rock, which is a popular recreational fishing spot thanks to its abundant marine ecosystem. Its surrounding waters are mapped as a Habitat Protection Marine Zone in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park conservation area.
We call for a range of scientific studies to be done to ascertain the effects of this dump on such a sensitive conservation area of the Great Barrier Reef. Presently we do not know what the potential impacts of the dumping of this dredge material will be on:

Broome homelessness 'at crisis point' | The Australian

Broome homelessness 'at crisis point' | The Australian: Eight of the nine people murdered in Broome over the past 3 1/2 years were indigenous people who had drifted to town from outlying areas. "That is a very high number of murders when you consider the size of the town," he said. "Alcohol was a primary factor in those eight deaths. It is a tragedy."

Lurujarri heritage walking trail Kimberley - Australian Geographic

The Australian Geographic magazine is featuring an article on the Lurujarri Heritage Trail... fantastic images with this article. Watch for release of full length article sometime early next year!
Lurujarri heritage walking trail Kimberley - Australian Geographic:
Volunteers, Goolarabooloo people and walkers travel the route annually. It takes nine days and covers 82km, mostly following the coastline north of Broome, WA. Walkers move leisurely through dunes, bush, mangroves and salt plains, as stories are told by the local Goolarabooloo community who run the walk.

Barnett Browse shift angers EPA - The West Australian

Barnett Browse shift angers EPA - The West Australian:
He said some of the axed conditions were important to ensure companies were held to high levels of accountability.

There was also less pressure on the proponents to cut emissions without the conditions.

It was particularly important with Browse, he said, because the project would lift WA's total greenhouse gas emissions up to 52 per cent above 2007 levels if it reached capacity. "There's still a role for the State Government in maintaining public confidence in the environmental performance of proponents, particularly when they have large greenhouse gas emissions," he said.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Learning from the London Olympics - The Science Show - ABC Radio National (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

Worth a listen.

Learning from the London Olympics - The Science Show - ABC Radio National (Australian Broadcasting Corporation):

The environmental movement has much to learn from the success of the London Olympics in 2012 says Brendan May.

Gas field demonstrator's conviction is quashed

Gas field demonstrator's conviction is quashed:
Last December Mr Hutton was convicted in the Dalby Magistrates Court under section 805 of Queensland's Petroleum and Gas Act, which provides for fines of up to $50,000 against anyone who obstructs an oil and gas company from entering, crossing or carrying out any other authorised activity on land covered by an exploration or production licence - on condition that they have been properly warned by the company.

But District Court Judge Fleur Kingham acquitted Mr Hutton - the only person to have been convicted under the law - on the basis that he was not properly warned by QGC. Her judgment criticised the ''awkward and ambiguous drafting of section 805''.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Greens MP Chapple calls on EPA Chief to resign | Robin Chapple MLC

Greens MP Chapple calls on EPA Chief to resign 

 “Mr Vogel, Chairman of the EPA, needs to be reminded that his primary task is to protect the environment, not promote mining and other destructive industries, particularly when it comes to something as toxic and untested in WA as uranium mining,” Mr Chapple said.

“If Mr Vogel is so keen on promoting industry maybe he is in the wrong job.”

Mr Chapple is also calling on the Environment Minister Bill Marmion to act and stand Mr Vogel aside, pending a full review of his publically expressed views and actions since his appointment, to see whether he is fit for the job of Chairman of the EPA.

EPA's Deception Of Community

Goolarabooloo People in Country EPA Board Member 2011

What is the purpose of the National Heritage register?  The ‘heritage value of fossilised dinosaur track sites that occur in Broome Sandstone is recognised and is listed as a National Heritage site. Who do these faceless trans-nationals think they are? It is one thing for corporations wanting to exploit resources that have no impact in their own back yard, but for the state government to  disregard not only the social mandate of the Broome community, but also State and Commonwealth laws, treaties  and agreements and are activity  aiding and abetting the wilful destruction of our national heritage. 
This is appalling.  

It begs the question again- just who is checking the checker? When you have a state government as the proponent, a stubborn egotistical and blinkered Premier who’s ‘streamlining’ processes is actually a blatant abuse of process, and Heads of Departments like Dr Vogel whose workplace renewal contract is reliant on and sanctioned by the Premier, one wonders whether conflict of interest enters the equation.

The Broome community lobbied the EPA board to come and talk to all interested and concerned community parties including the Goolarabooloo who welcomed them onto country and shared extensive cultural knowledge. Unfortunately, the community was under the misguided notion that the EPA was independent of governmental control, and would provide checks and balances to governmental excess.

That the guidelines enshrined in law for the protection of environmental and cultural heritage would actually provide recourse. Instead the EPA abused the hospitality provided and this deception only added to the collective no gas psyche of the Broome community…the faith that was put into this authoritive body and other governmental departments should stand as a warning for other communities who are battling corporations and the acquiescence of governments.

AM - Wilderness Society launches legal action against JPP gas hub environmental approval 20/12/2012

Richard Hunter
AM - Wilderness Society launches legal action against JPP gas hub environmental approval 20/12/2012

More legal action launched over JPP
ABC Online -
A Supreme Court challenge has been lodged against the Environmental Protection Authority's approval of the LNG hub, north of Broome. The Wilderness Society has joined forces with traditional owner, Richard Hunter, to allege that the decision making ...

Browse hit by more litigation | The Australian

Browse hit by more litigation | The Australian:
WOODSIDE'S $35 billion Browse development has been hit with fresh legal action to overturn environmental approvals for the project because of conflicts of interest on the West Australian Environmental Protection Agency board.
Conflicted EPA board members on Country with Goolarabooloo 2011
Traditional owner Richard Hunter and the Wilderness Society of Western Australia have launched action in the Supreme Court seeking a judicial review of decisions taken by the EPA and state government to allow construction of the Browse gas processing facilities at James Price Point.

If successful, the action could force the Browse joint venture partners to restart environmental approvals for the James Price Point development.

The court action could lead to another delay for the controversial gas project that has split local and indigenous groups in the Broome community.

It follows Supreme Court action started last month on behalf of traditional law boss Phillip Roe, who claims the Kimberley Land Council had been placed under "improper pressure" by the WA government. It also follows warnings to business by environment groups of a spike in US-style litigation against resource developments to challenge environmental approvals from the states.

The Business Council of Australia has pushed for the federal government's decision-making powers to be delegated to state governments to cut "green tape".

Wilderness Society national director Lyndon Schneiders said the James Price Point approval showed the "folly" of the BCA approach. "JPP is a case study of how not to build public confidence in the capacity of state governments to be entrusted with the protection of the natural and cultural environment," he said.
The EPA's approval for the Browse development has been mired in controversy due to declared conflicts of interest by board members in relation to the project.

The Browse report was released by EPA chairman Paul Vogel, acting alone after the other four board members were required to stand aside due to conflicts of interest. The West Australian Environment Minister's approval was based on Mr Vogel's recommendation alone. The court action claims three of the conflicted EPA board members had extensively deliberated on the Browse LNG precinct at James Price Point before being stood down only at the end of the process.

In a briefing on the court proceedings, Mr Hunter and the Wilderness Society of WA said the EPA was set up to be independent and avoid conflicts of interests by requiring that at least three non-conflicted board members were needed to make a decision.

The Supreme Court action is seeking orders to quash the approval and to quash the assessment report for any use in any further approval.

The Wilderness Society said the failure of the EPA and West Australian government to follow proper process had placed legal uncertainty over next year's June 30 deadline for the Browse final investment decision.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

EPA approves first derived proposal for Browse LNG development

How absurd, ironic and totally hypocritical that the Western Australian government is promoting the celebration of  ‘champions’ of community and heritage while it actively pursues a relentless  campaign against opposition to the proposed development at James Price Point. Whilst the Western Australian government’s initiative to encourage communities to celebrate ‘outstanding achievements that elevate the value of heritage in Western Australia’ is to be commended, it is only rhetoric. 

The community involved with James Price Point has endured a vilification campaign and accusations of terrorism while they have pursued scientific, cultural, and social data to support  the  protection of the already  well documented and recognised living heritage that has survived and been maintained despite the best efforts of previous and current governmental policies.

There is a need for recognition of communities and tireless individual campaigners who at great personal and economic cost continue to resist the machinations of corporations and corrupt governments who bastardise the process to the detriment of cultural and environmental heritage. 

With the announcement of the EPA’s approval of the development at James Price Point as a derived proposal, (thus halting any further environmental and cultural assessments), the Government and associated agencies are highlighting the reality that community sensibilities and cultural and environmental considerations are the least celebrated component of the current governments land grab mentality.

The Environmental Protection Authority has declared Woodside Energy Ltd's proposal to develop the Liquefied Natural Gas plant at James Price Point, 60 km north of Broome, a derived proposal.

The Department of State Development's strategic proposal, recently approved by Environment Minister Bill Marmion, allowed for multiple LNG users to be co-located on a single site, avoiding a number of LNG processing sites to spread along the coast and in more sensitive parts of the Kimberley.

The strategic proposal also allowed the consideration of the cumulative environmental impacts of future proposals, known as derived proposals.

The approval conditions apply to the overall precinct and relevant approval conditions will apply to specific derived proposals within the precinct.

EPA Chairman Dr Paul Vogel and Deputy Chairman Professor Robert Harvey have determined that the proposal fits within the strictly defined precinct footprint and could be declared a derived proposal. - ‎3 hours ago‎
WOODSIDE'S controversial liquefied natural gas plant at James Price Point has cleared another regulatory hurdle. Environmental Protection Authority chairman Paul Vogel announced today that the company's 25 million tonne a year plant fit within the ...

Courier Mail
ABC Online -
ABC Online -
The West Australian -