Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Where to from here?

Woodside will decide between the Kimberley and Karratha after the 3 month negotiations in 2009 with the KLC and when research is completed into the environmental, heritage and social impacts on the Kimberley. The decision is expected in late June 2009

The two locations currently under consideration for LNG processing by Woodside are:

  • James Prices Point on the Dampier Peninsula in the Kimberley; or
  • Woodside-operated facilities located near Karratha.

Woodside was invited by Indigenous traditional owners to recommence discussions on the possibility of developing an LNG facility in the Kimberley. Woodside are committed to negotiating with the KLC.

An LNG precinct would occupy approximately 3 km of coastline according to Woodside and this is in line with the findings of the Northern Task force.

But let's not forget that with dredging and reclamation the entire 'footprint' at Prices Point is 10 kilometres of shore line and 5 kilometres offshore with a entire footprint zone effect of 5000 hectares (land and sea) which is also included in the Northern Task Force report.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Background information to the LNG proposal

Since 2007, more than 40 possible Kimberley sites were considered and four sites, including James Price Point, were short-listed in October 2008.

“This process has a completion date of March 31, 2009, after which the State Government will begin land acquisition processes.

The Northern Development Taskforce started work on selecting a site for an LNG development in the Kimberley in June 2007. It has produced or commissioned at least 22 reports into environmental, indigenous and other issues surrounding the proposal.

There were also 243 written submissions on the site selection (shortlist) report plus 46 verbal submissions, a three day workshop in Broome in July and an Environmental Protection Authority report and other reports commissioned by the Commonwealth.

Crunch time for Prices Point

No wonder the public is often cynical about politics when we are told just before the festive season about a decision which will change our region irrevocably with a 1000 to 2000 hectare slice of Kimberley coast given over to industrial development of which a large chunk will be on the land. If Prices Point is taken by our State Government for an LNG gas factory, the 4 kilometre long dredging required, will scrape out the grave for the Broome surrounds, and the drilling and pile driving for the construction of 'a significant jetty' will pound at the very heart of our Kimberley coastline. This destruction of our pristine environment is a very heavy price to pay. What’s going to be the effect of the next 50 years of major quantities of waste water from the extraction process, atmospheric pollution and ballast from the tankers? The next three months of consultation is far too short in considering cultural, heritage, environmental and social impacts on Broome and the wider area. The threat of 'compulsory acquisition' is a poor substitute if negotiations get bogged down with traditional owners. The Conservation Council is right by drawing a line in the sand and launching an International campaign against this proposal while arguing that the Browse gas should be piped to the Pilbara instead where the infrastructure is already in place.

Brian Kane Broome.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Is the Premier downsizing the chosen site?

You may like to compare the statement by the Premier today with the Northern Task Force evaluation report released in Oct 2008 :

The Premier stated that the project will ''require a few hundred metres of coastline and about 300 to 400 acres (150 hectares) on the land which would not be accessible to the public." (December 20th)

The Northern Task Force evaluation report page 16:
For the purpose of the evaluation, an area 3 kilometres long-shore and 4 kilometres offshore (1000 hectares) was considered to be the 'footprint' associated with construction. Turbidity from dredging and reclamatinon would have effects extending beyong the footprint over a notional 5000 hectare (10 kilometres long-shore and 5 kilometres offshore) zone of effect.

Which leaves us with the question - Is the Premier downsizing the effected area in his public comments?

The Premier meets opponents of the gas presinct

The Premier met with about 30 opponents of the gas presinct today on the lawn area in front of the Cable Beach Resort.
It was well covered by the media. It seems that an announcement is imminent as soon as next week as to the preferred site. The Premier stated that the project will ''require a few hundred metres of coastline and about 400 acres on the land which would not be accessible to the public." The entire area including the ocean would require 1000 hectares according to the Northern Task Force. Once the preferred site is indicated "an Environmental and Heritage assessment will be carried out and the hub will bring training, education and employment to Broome" according to the Premier.

The Premier flew up to Prices Point and North Head yesterday and walked on the beach in both places.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

EPA report

The EPA has ruled out Anjo and North Head on environmental grounds and stated that Prices Point and Gourdon Bay will have the least environmental impact, but the Premier said there are other issues to consider.

It's time to mobilise

As soon as the week before Christmas, Western Australian Premier Colin Barnett is likely to announce a proposed site for a major industrial development on the Kimberley coast - on land he is prepared to forcibly remove from Traditional Owners, through compulsory acquisition laws.

With no further negotiations or scientific research, a 1000ha slice of Kimberley coast will be given over to liquefied natural gas (LNG) industrial development - threatening majestic humpback whales and numerous endangered species including dugong and flatback turtles.
It is time to let Woodside Ltd - the major Australian fossil fuel company leading the charge to industrialise the Kimberley coast - know that the people of Australia do not want to see the iconic Kimberley's natural environment sacrificed to short-sighted industrial development.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Broome Shire Council stands up for the environment

In one of the most important debates for the future of Broome, the Shire Council made a strong stand for the environment by passing 4 motions:
1. That turtles are given more protection against the impact of vehicles on Cable Beach. There will be a restriction on vehicles 500m north of Gantheaume Point to Coconut Wells during the key times, tides and dates which coincide with the nesting of turtles. This will not inconvenience the general public as the restrictions mostly occur at night.
2. The Council does not support the location of a gas processing hub/presinct along the coastline within the Shire of Broome. The Council calls for more direct consultation and wants to explore other development options.
3. The Council will host a forum to inform and educate people within the Shire on the direct impacts - economic, environment and social of an LNG hub/presinct.
4. The Council will express to our Sister City Taiji the community of Broome's concerns about the culling and slaughter of dophins and the apparent condoning of this practice by the Taiji City Council.

Gas protest in Broome

A vocal crowd of more than 400 concerned residents took to the streets of Broome to protest against the proposed LNG hub on the Kimberley coastline. After impassioned speeches from Neil McKenzie, Save the Kimberley's Kevin Blatchford and Beagle Bay resident Albert Wiggan a strong chant of ''gas free Kimberley, hands off country'' arose. A march down Hamersley Street with a police escort then followed ending at Male oval. (courtesty Broome Advertiser December 18th 2008)

Friday, December 12, 2008

Carol Martin MP switches her views

Kimberley MLA Carol Martin said the Chamber of Commerce was wrong to suggest the LNG hub needed to be close to Broome. She also said she now did not support any of the four sites, and was especially concerned development at North Head would impact on the lifestyle of her family.

Broome Advertiser December 11th.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Explaining environmental destruction to our grandchildren.

Colin Barnett is adamant that the LNG industrialization of the Dampier Peninsula will go ahead irrespective of any opposition. Many Kimberley people are against the destruction of our pristine coastline, but are adopting a fatalistic attitude: “It’s going to happen anyway, so get on board!” Nothing could be further from the truth.

Elsewhere in Australia, Gunn’s pulp mill in Tasmania was given the go ahead by the State Government, but is now on shaky ground mainly because it’s so unpopular with the people of the region. Foreign investors are withdrawing interest and the Federal Government is meticulously upholding environmental standards. We all remember Tasmania’s divisive dam’s issue of the 1980s which thankfully was defeated.

I am appealing to all those in opposition to the proposed social and environmental destruction of the Dampier Peninsula to maintain their optimism and trust in people power.

Let’s say Barnett gets his own way, a fast-forward picture twenty years from now will see Broome becoming an extension of the Pilbara. At least then, I can look my grandchildren in the eye and say “I was opposed to this madness!”

Damian Kelly, Broome