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Posts Tagged ‘Peter Garrett’

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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Reverse triple somersault with double pike, or volte-face as we say in diplomatic circles, was performed by so-called Environment Minister Peter Garrett in approving the new Four Mile uranium mine in SA.

Opposition leader Malcolm Turnbull was quick in pointing out a gaping hole in Garrett’s credibility from his anti-nuclear days, but then agreed with the decision, demonstrating again his unerring political opportunism.

“Oils ain’t oils”, as one headline had it. For Midnight Oil fans, think Blue Sky Mine (’nothing’s as precious, as a hole in the ground’) and Dead Heart (’uranium companies…got more right than people, got more say than people’). As Pete said, “look this is an old song”. Indeed it is, and now he’s a ‘team player’ who accepts government decisions.

The holes in our political and cultural landscape will be matched by a real hole in the ground, where radioactive waste from the uranium leaching process will be dumped into aquifers. Garrett’s approval does not require the mine owner to clean this up, and his bald-faced (oh yeah!) assertion that there is no credible threat to the environment takes on Orwellian tones.

Mine owner Heathgate Resources (75% US owned) is an affiliate of General Atomics, a US weapons and nuclear energy corporation, whose billionaire chairman James Blue supported the CIA-funded war against Nicaragua’s left-wing government.

The Rudd government remains on track to convert Australia’s economy to renewable, green energy, blah, blah, particularly with its low-key carbon pollution reduction scheme and clean coal technology, coming soon. And after all, the uranium is for export and only to nuclear non-proliferation treaty signatory countries. No chance of it ending up in nuclear weapons. As for waste disposal, well there’s a solution coming soon too.

 open mine

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