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Coal epidemic in Queensland needs federal intervention

Originally published on the Queensland Greens web site on 10 Feb 09.

10 February 2010 - The Queensland Greens have today called for federal intervention to address the climate change impacts of the coal epidemic in central Queensland.

"The Greens want a climate trigger to be added to Australia's national environment laws so the federal government can step in to assess the full climate impacts of coal proposals, including Clive Palmer's China First and Gina Hancock's Alpha and Kevin's Corner coal mines in the Galilee Basin," said environmental lawyer and Greens lead Senate candidate for Queensland, Larissa Waters.
Greens candidates Larissa Waters, Jenny Stirling and Jonathon Dykyj are visiting Bowen to hear community opposition to the coal mines, coal rail corridors, coal port expansions and local heavy industry area, and will attend a briefing on Galilee Basin coal projects where mining magnate Clive Palmer is also expected.

"The region's communities, the Reef, tourism, agriculture, grazing industries and development of alternative industries are being sacrificed for coal royalties, corporate profits and exports of more carbon pollution to China and Japan," said Ms Waters.

"The proposed coal mines in the Galilee Basin are massive and will turn Queensland into the world's biggest coal exporter right when the latest science is calling for urgent reductions in greenhouse gas emissions," said Ms Waters.

"Premier Bligh is ignoring the revenue and thousands of jobs dependent on a healthy Great Barrier Reef and is failing to drive the creation of thousands of clean energy jobs which could be powering Queensland and protecting the climate," said Ms Waters.

"Hancock's Kevin's Corner and Alpha Coal Mine will forever mark the exact point at which Rudd capitulated to the coal lobby, squandering the mandate he was given to deal with climate change and betraying future generations of Australians" said Jenny Stirling, Greens third Senate candidate.

In addition to coal projects, the state government is dumping the worst polluting industries such as aluminium and nickel refineries with smelters, chlor-alkali plant, ammonium nitrate plant, coke and gas fired power plants right on to Bowen residents in a ‘state development area' which demotes the community's legal rights to oppose the development.

"The federal government needs to step in and conduct an assessment of the cumulative impact of heavy industry and resource extraction on the community and the environment in the region," said Ms Waters.

Candidate for Dawson Jonathon Dykyj said: "We are here to challenge the short-sighted and inappropriate development of this region and to put forward sustainable alternatives which are economically and environmentally sound for this wonderful part of Queensland."

The Greens want to see the region's economy based on clean energy industries and associated manufacturing, sustainable agriculture, tourism, and improved public health, education and services for the aging population and young families.

For comment:
Larissa Waters - Greens lead Senate candidate for Queensland - larissa.waters [ AT ]

Background on planned Bowen development blitz

  • Massive 16,500 ha Bowen State Development Area to house some of the world's worst polluting industries such as aluminium and nickel refineries with smelters, chlor-alkali plant, ammonium nitrate plant, coke and gas fired power plants.
  • Abbott Point Port expansion to export 110 Mtpa of coal together with a Multi Cargo Facility will require 580 ha dredging and reclamation in World Heritage Great Barrier Reef waters. Coal exports are projected to increase from the present 25Mtpa export upwards to 230 Mtpa with the Palmer/Hancock coal mines.
  • Both of the above sited next to the nationally significant Caley (Keela) Valley Wetlands which meet RAMSAR status and are home to over 20,000 wetland and migratory birds and 200 species.
    490km rail corridors will be 100m wide from Galilee Basin (Palmer's China First) to Abbott Point, cutting through the township of Collinsville, stock routes, prime agricultural and grazing lands and ecosystems.
  • Land clearing for the mines, railways, pipelines and coal stockpiles will affect thousands of hectares of vegetation and biodiversity habitat.

See also: "Clive Palmer, Queensland Government announce $69 Billion Coal project" in the Sunday Mail of 7 Feb 10.

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Below is a link showing some disturbing footage of how the plastic lined evaporation ponds used in the coal seam gas and coal fired power industry are cruel wildlife traps. W.A.A.M. feels that this is totaly unacceptable and those responsible must be brought to justice.

Also, if you are interested in the broader threats that the coal seam gas and coal power industries pose to our native flora and fauna, please visit W.A.A.M.

W.A.A.M. is the only group involved in the struggle fighting first and foremost for the animals and the environment. We need support in this struggle so please pass these links on to anyone who you think would be interested. Please feel free to offer your feedback on the site. Thank you.

Kelly Fraser-Parle
W.A.A.M. (We Are Anti-Mining)

The film shows vast plastic lined ponds with steep plastic lined slopes which, once the kangaroos have gone into the water, to drink, are too slick for the kangaroos to climb out of again - so they drown. The ponds are built to Queensland specifications.

Sheila Newman, population sociologist
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Articles Copyright to the author. Please contact sheila [AT] candobetter org or the editor if you wish to make substantial reproduction or repu

The investment into alternative power generating technologies such as nuclear energy may need to be measured against the potential cost when things turn against you as unfortunately happened this year in Japan. The use of thermal coal (steam coal) that is mostly burnt for power generation may be valid for other countries who may not be able to allocate resources and funds to alternative and more greener sources of power. Coal newsletters and coal statistics show developing economies are more likely to increase their investment into & their use of thermal coal & metallurgical coal in coming years because of coal's affordability and ability to quickly meet increasing demands for electricity and steel.

Candobetter. ED.
I think you are probably right, Cherry. All the more argument for diminishing production, redistributing land for self-sufficiency, and discouraging population growth by educating people in the realities of energy depletion, don't you think?