Friday, 24 August 2012

Threatening the environment with coal operations: Abbot Point and Keela Valley; Alpha and Bimblebox

Disclosure:  Miss Eagle grew up in Bowen and spent her early married life there. Bowen is at the northern end of the exquisite Whitsundays. Abbot Point is approx 40km north of Bowen.  Slim Dusty long ago made the area famous with his song, Keela Valley Run, which came out of many visits with his good mate Lou Williams (Lou's brother Benny - aka Wugga - was a great friend of a very young Miss Eagle) who owned Keela Valley in those long ago days.  What is happening on the Keela Valley Run these days makes a sad, sad mockery of Slim's words.

From Denis Wilson of The Nature of Robertson

That Minister Burke loves to hide behind "conditions", doesn't he?

I doubt that getting coal trains covered (of which I am all in favour, by the way) is the real issue facing the famed Caley Wetlands, near Bowen.

  • One wonders if this snuck through Tony Burke's Dept under a simple spelling mistake? (They have approved the CSG mining beside the Hunter Valley Wetlands, because they thought it was part of the Gloucester Basin). That's why approvals - "site unseen" - are problematic.

Kaili Valley Wetlands (Wetlands) is a large coastal wetland complex located on the central
Queensland coast near Bowen (Figure 1-1). The Wetlands represents one of the largest intact
wetland systems between Townsville and Bowen, covering an area of ~5,154 ha. The Wetlands
is one of 10 wetlands in Queensland listed under the Directory of Important Wetlands of Australia
(DIWA), and is referred to in the Directory as the Abbot Point – Caley Valley Wetlands.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Sharyn Munro <>
Date: Fri, Aug 24, 2012 at 8:04 AM
Subject: [CoalCommunities] Alpha mine gets Fed approval
To: Coal Communities <>
<BTW, pop over to Sharyn's blog, The Woman on The Mountain, and also read her books>

$7bn Alpha coal mine gets approval
By Eliza Borrello
Updated 8 hours 0 minutes ago

Gina Rinehart's multi-billion-dollar Alpha coal mine and rail project in central Queensland has been granted Federal Government approval.
The Commonwealth had been unhappy about Queensland Premier Campbell Newman's decision to fast-track approvals for the $6.9 billion project.
It had threatened to take back control of major environmental approvals from the State Government amid a public war of words.
The Commonwealth had been concerned the rail loop, earthworks and construction work needed to transport coal from the mine could affect the Great Barrier Reef.
The approval on Thursday came with 19 conditions which Environment Minister Tony Burke says he is satisfied will protect the reef.
"It's important to note the standards that have been imposed by the Commonwealth are welcomed by the company," he said.
"In a statement from [Alpha coal partner] GVK today, they said GVK chose to invest in Australia because of its low political risk coupled with strong environmental and safety standards."
The State Government says the project will create thousands of jobs and inject $1 billion into the state's economy each year.
Queensland's Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney says it is a major boost for the state.
"The Galilee Basin generally is a huge resource for the people of Queensland for generations to come," he said.
But Barcaldine Mayor Rob Chandler says a number of property owners have concerns.
"Obviously there are going to some land holders that are displaced, some who are going to be disrupted," he said.
Alpha conditions include:
  • •The proponent will be required to submit a Caley Valley Wetland Management Plan for the Minister’s approval and to ensure that coal dust impacts on the Caley Valley Wetland are minimised through various measures including covered wagons or equivalent.
  • •A Matters of National Environmental Significance Management Plan to maximise the ongoing protection and long term conservation of EPBC listed threatened fauna
  • •Several management plans will manage potential impacts on the values of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area and species including dugongs, turtles and migratory birds
  • •Significant and comprehensive land offsets to protect listed threatened ecological communities and species
  • •A proponent-established trust, with initial funding of $2 million, to conduct research on the black-throated finch and the squatter pigeon, with provision for a more strategic approach to protect all key species in the Galilee Basin in the event that any further mines are approved in the basin,
  • •Management plans covering mine rehabilitation, vegetation, water quality and regional impacts on water quality, and
  • •Identify threshold limits and management measures for any coal dust impacts on the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area and reporting to the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority every six months.
As with Gladstone Harbour, the problem is not just coal dust, it is any extra dredging of the harbour, (which may or may not be required) and the prospect of a huge increase in shipping traffic through the Great Barrier Reef, with attendant risks of oil spills, crashes with Dugongs and turtles, etc.
Denis Wilson
If you're not pissed off with the World, you're just not paying attention.
(Kasey Chambers)

"The Nature of Robertson"

Further  reading:

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