West Australian Whale calves under threat from Woodside sonar: Greens take Action and say Minister should go:

Whale calves under threat: Greens take Action and say Minister should go:

Greens MLC Robin Chapple has savaged Woodside for undertaking unapproved seismic surveys in the immediate vicinity of a whale pod that includes many baby whales.

Mr Chapple also said that the Minister for the Environment, Donna Faragher should resign over the affair because the EPA was apparently oblivious to the survey work taking place in the

Browse Basin whale nursery and off James Price Point.

“It is unacceptable for Woodside to undertake this work without fulfilling the most basic requirements for environmental approval,” Mr. Chapple said.

“To operate seismic survey equipment in the immediate area of calving whales is unconscionable.”

The first sighting of the annual northern migration of humpback whales, known as Breeding Group D, was confirmed in Kimberley waters on May 24. Woodside commenced seismic blasting operations in the area on the same day.

The booming noise from oil and gas seismic testing can hinder whale-to-whale communication and threaten the whale’s ability to navigate, kill prey and reproduce.

“If this happens to adult humpback whales, the effect would be multiplied on the fetuses and newborns” said Mr. Chapple.

“It is obscene that this Government is allowing seismic blasting to occur amongst the returning pregnant whale cows and new born calves.”

Under questioning from Mr. Chapple last week, the Minister admitted that she and the EPA had no knowledge of Woodside’s intended seismic air blasting proposals.

The Greens MP immediately referred the matter to the Environmental Protection Authority but said that it was unbelievable that the Minister had no knowledge of the operations.

“It is utterly disgraceful that an Environment Minister should be so oblivious to such an important issue this again demonstrates that the current Minister has to go,” Mr. Chapple said.

“This affair makes Australia’s referral of the Japanese whaling in the Southern Ocean to the International Court of Justice in the Hague quite hypocritical. This whale pod is the same that were being harpooned in the southern ocean and are now going to be blasted with underwater geological testing off WA by Woodside.”

Contact: Robin Chapple on 0409 379 263

Woodside Data:

Activity Description Activity Commences Duration
Nearshore high resolution seismic refraction survey Seismic refraction survey using a 5 cubic inch gun and two fifty metre streamers (towed half a metre below the sea surface). There will be no stabilization chains.

Activity occurs within state waters in the vicinity of James Price Point with the extent of this survey being the same as the nearshore geotechnical extent.

24 May 2010 ~21 – 28 days
Nearshore geotechnical site investigation This activity will utilise 1 to 2 jack-up barges to drill a number of boreholes within state waters in the vicinity of James Price Point. Late June ~35-75 days (depending on number of jack-up barges utilized)
Koolama 2D seismic survey A two dimensional (2D) seismic survey in Petroleum Permit Areas WA-415-P, WA-416-P and WA-417-P. This survey will be undertaken in waters approximately 40km from Broome. A seismic vessel towing a single 6km streamer will undertake 4km transects. 25 May 2010 ~35 days (completed by 30 June)
Offshore pipeline route – geotechnical sampling site investigation survey Drilling of bore holes and cone penetration tests on the sea bed along the approximate offshore pipeline route out to the Brecknock and Calliance fields (approximately 400km from Broome). 25 May 2010 ~60 days

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For most, West Australian Govt’s renewable energy subsidy will be meaningless: Greens

For most, Govt’s renewable energy subsidy will be meaningless: Greens

The Greens have dismissed the Government’s announcement of their “net feed-in tariff” for renewable energy as meaningless for the vast bulk of well-meaning people who have installed or are considering installing small-scale renewable energy systems for their home.

“The fact is the Government have totally backflipped on this issue, retreating from a laudable ‘gross’ feed-in tariff promised during the 2008 State election to a grossly inferior net tariff scheme,” said Greens energy spokesperson Robin Chapple MLC.

“What that means is that householders will not get paid a cent from the Government’s new scheme unless they export more power to the grid than they use.”

“Anyone reading the newspaper will tell you that lots of solar panels companies are busily putting photovoltaics on residential roof tops, but they are almost always for systems of around 1 to 2kW in size, which will help greatly to reduce the power consumption at those houses but will not totally provide for the energy consumption of those residents.”

Mr Chapple said that even if 95% of the average power consumption of a home was provided with renewable power infrastructure, the householder in question would get absolutely nothing from the WA Government.

“The Minister today has made ludicrous claims about the payback period under his scheme, but unless householders have more solar panels than they need the payback period is simple; never.”

“It should also be noted that at this stage there is no action on the possibility of a feed-in tariff scheme for businesses; just a proposed feasibility study,” Mr Chapple added.

West Australian oil spill – Questions unanswered over Montara dispersants as toxicity concerns grow

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Questions unanswered over Montara dispersants as toxicity concerns grow click this link for Burma Generals’ murky ties

Australian Greens Marine Spokesperson, Senator Rachel Siewert has expressed concern that information is still not available on the amount of various chemical dispersants used during the Montara oil spill

Senator Siewert has used Senate Estimates to raise questions about the dispersant chemicals used on the Montara oil spill off the West Australian coast.

Two chemicals from the Corexit family, the dispersants Corexit 9500A and Corexit 9527A were used on Montara and are being used in huge volumes in the Gulf of Mexico. Corexit is already banned in parts of Europe including the UK.

The US Environmental Protection Agency last week ordered BP to find alternatives to the dispersant chemicals it was using on the Louisiana slick after public concerns were raised over the toxicity of the dispersants.

“I find it incredible that we still don’t know how much of each specific dispersant was used on the Montara oil spill. At Estimates yesterday AMSA were still unable to tell us how much of each chemical was used, this information hasn’t been available to the Montara inquiry either,” Australian Greens Marine Spokesperson Rachel Siewert said today.

“This impacts the ability to asses the real environmental impact of Montara,” Senator Siewert said.

“I’m concerned about the way decisions are made on when, where and which dispersants are used by Australian authorities. I believe that he process for determining the toxicology of dispersants needs to be reviewed and that our environmental authorities should be involved in that decision making.

“Dispersant chemicals help the oil to move down through the water column. They can play an important role in protecting our coastline or key environmental assets like Ashmore reef – but there is also quite serious risks involved in their widespread use, particularly at a time when the fish and coral are spawning.

“The safety of these chemicals is in dispute – Corexit is banned in parts of Europe and questions have been raised over its use in the Gulf of Mexico.

“While each spill has different management needs depending on its size and location, the ongoing environmental concerns over Corexit in the US, coupled with the European bans should be raising a big red flag here at home.

“Over 185,000 litres of various dispersant chemicals have been used on the Montara spill, it is critical that all the information pertaining to these chemicals is forthcoming, and application processes given the necessary review and assessment.

“We may not know for some years if the dispersants, or the oil, have had an impact on recruitment in key fish stocks in our northwest fishery, given their particular vulnerability during their larval phase.

“There are major changes needed to the regulation and compliance monitoring of the oil and gas industry and the way we respond to disasters in our marine environment – I look forward to the release of the report by Montara Commission of Inquiry,” Senator Siewert concluded.

Senator Rachel Siewert

Australian Greens Senator for WA

P: (08) 9228 3277 | www.greensmps.org.au

27052010 MEDIA RELEASE – Questions unanswered over Montara dispersants as toxicity concerns grow.doc

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