Garrett’s Gorgon-Zola

Federal environment minister Peter Garrett’s latest blooper is gross. A week after Kevin Rudd proudly announced a $50 billion (tax revenue) deal to sell natural gas from the Gorgon project off WA’s Pilbara Coast to China, Garrett adds his environmental approval, as if post-facto endorsement is normal business. That amounts to a rubber stamp!

Timing could not be worse as oil continues to spill from West Atlas rig 250 kms off the Kimberley coast, creating a slick 180 kms long and approaching 20 kms offshore. An estimated 470,000 litres of oil per day are spewing into the ocean and with 50 days to cap it with equipment coming from Singapore, the final spill may equal the 1989 Exxon Valdez disaster.

Garrett says consent conditions on his Gorgon approval will adequately protect the environment from damage with by ‘far the largest carbon capture and storage experiment in Australia’. An experiment indeed!

Proposed site of the Gorgon facility is Barrow Island, an A class nature reserve with significant coral reefs, sanctuary for flatback marine turtles and geological fault lines susceptible to leakage of stored carbon.

“Compounding one mess with another in the rush to sell fossil fuels in an era of climate change makes us gasp in horror at its insanity”, says Mora Main, Greens councillor Waverley.

Garrett may not be familiar with Zola’s masterpiece Germinal about miners’ poverty and socialist rumblings, but he could well consider two Zola quotes:

“The fate of animals is of greater importance to me than the fear of appearing ridiculous; it is indissolubly connected with the fate of men”.

“If you shut up truth, and bury it underground, it will but grow”.



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