This is my pet gripe at present. If you haven’t already realised….
In the interests of a reasonable discussion I have tried to find information at various sources to give a balanced and unbias view of this topic…. However apart from the media spin and government bodies telling us how good it will be and that it is up there with worlds best pratice I have yet to find any information which will tell me let alone convince me it is safe in the areas of health, air, water, environment both land and marine….
The Federal Minister for the Environment Malcolm Turnbull has approved this mill with the support of the Federal Labor Government, but his powers only cover a few areas not the full range of environmental issues raised by this development….
I have included the most recent press release information from The Wilderness Society and a second release which tells you what the problem is.
There are also links and references to learn more….
So please read on for whats really happening down here in Tasmania……
Scientists address unanswered questions from pulp mill assessment
The Wilderness Society (Tasmania) Inc
14 OCTOBER 2007
A public meeting held today in Sydney highlighted the failures and unaddressed the issues in the assessment of Gunns’ highly controversial Tasmanian pulp mill. The event featured key scientific experts and climate change campaigners and was the first opportunity for the public to have outstanding questions answered in the wake of the federal government’s approval of the pulp mill.
“This event has proved important in raising public awareness of the inadequacies of the pulp mill’s assessment and having credible scientific experts cut through the spin and highlight the environmental, social and climate change damage associated with this mill,” said Vica Bayley, spokesperson for The Wilderness Society.
“The mill’s appetite for native forests and the effects this would have on biodiversity, water and climate change have gone totally unassessed by either the state or federal government.”
Very conservative estimates of the carbon emissions generated by the logging needed to feed the mill indicate over 10 million tonnes of CO2 would be emitted each year. This is equivalent to 2% of Australia’s emissions or an additional 2.3 million cars on the road each year. Once more studies are completed and more understanding is gained about the amount of carbon stored in Tasmania’s forests, net emissions are expected to be found to be 2–3 times higher than this.
“Despite the two government assessments, positive spin, and considerable media coverage, the public are full of questions and outraged at the selective, narrow and inadequate assessment of such a massive industrial project,” continued Mr Bayley.
“The interest in this event demonstrates a high level of community concern and keeps the pressure on both major parties who support this destructive proposal.”
“Both the Prime Minister and opposition leader Kevin Rudd have locked their parties into backing the construction of this pulp mill despite the unaddressed scientific questions and massive community opposition,” said Mr Bayley.
“Both claim to be leading the world with policies that deal with climate change, yet both turn a blind eye to the massive carbon emissions of current logging and the additional carbon emissions that would be generated by this pulp mill.”
“Protecting existing carbon dense forests should be the first step in any credible climate change policy. Approving the pulp mill could shut the door on this option. It will commit future generations to dangerous climate change, causing worsening weather cycles such as drought and extreme fire conditions,” concluded Mr Bayley.
For more information, please contact:
Tasmanian Forest Campaigner
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Why the proposed Tamar Valley Pulp Mill would be a disaster
The pulp mill will initially be 80% based on native forest.1 It will destroy forests in the Great Western Tiers, North-East Highlands and Ben Lomond. Gunns’ woodchip exports will continue from the Hampshire and Triabunna woodchip mills.1 The combined appetites of these mills plus the pulp mill will double the current rate of woodchipping in Tasmania.1
Our ocean and beaches
Experts—including the Tasmanian Government’s own consultant, Sweco Pic—have said that Gunns failed to carry out adequate baseline studies and modelling of the effluents.2 Oceanographers have warned that the effluent will frequently blow back to shore and into the Tamar Estuary.3
Our marine life and fisheries
The 64,000 tonnes of effluent that the pulp mill will discharge into Bass Strait every day contain small quantities of dioxins and furans—some of the deadliest substances known to science.4 These build up over time in the food chain, contaminating fish, shellfish, seals and other marine life. This could damage our export fishing industry, which relies on a clean reputation.
Scientists have warned that planned logging in Tasmania’s north-east threatens animals and birds with local extinction.5 These include the Tasmanian wedge-tailed eagle, the spotted-tail quoll and the giant freshwater crayfish.
The pulp mill will consume 26 to 40 billion litres of fresh water each year.1 This is almost as much as the combined use of all water users in Northern Tasmania.6 Research shows that plantations can reduce stream flow by over 50%.7 Meanwhile, north-east Tasmania can expect a forecast reduction in rainfall of 8% over 30 years due to climate change.8
The air of the Tamar Valley
The pulp mill will stink. ‘Fugitive emissions’ of odour from hundreds of sources within the mill’s complex will drift to homes, businesses, farms and wineries in the vicinity of the mill.9 The Australian Medical Association (Tasmanian branch) says the pulp mill ‘could cause an increase in the already existing morbidity and mortality from atmospheric pollutants’.10
Each year the pulp mill will use four million tonnes of wood for pulping and 500,000 tonnes for burning to generate power.1 Logging of native forests to supply the mill over 25 years will produce greenhouse gases equivalent to the CO2 released by all the cars, trucks and buses in Tasmania over 80 years.11
Independent economists have warned that the pulp mill could cost Tasmania’s economy $3.3 billion and hundreds of lost jobs in the tourism, fishing and agricultural industries. The mill has already cost taxpayers millions of dollars. If it proceeds, it could cost the taxpayer an additional $800 million.12
53% of voters in Bass oppose the pulp mill while only 35% support it. 70% of Bass voters support a chlorine-free, 100% plantation-based pulp mill at Hampshire.13
- Gunns Ltd, Bell Bay Pulp Mill, Draft Integrated Impact Statement
- Assessment of the Gunns Limited Bell Bay Pulp Mill against the Environmental Emission Limit Guidelines, Sweco Pic, June 2007; Miotti Consulting Peer Review of Sweco Pic Report
- Dr Stuart Godfrey http://www.cleantamar.com.au/pulp_mill_press_release.html
- Gunns’ referral under the EPBC Act, April 2007
- University of Melbourne and Forestry Tasmania 2003; Bekessy transcripts, Wielangta court case 2006
- Annual Reports, Esk Water and Cradle Coast Water
- Trading water for carbon with biological carbon sequestration, Jackson et al. 23 December 2005 Vol 310 Science.
- Tasmanian Government Draft Climate Change Strategy 2006
- Dr Warwick Raverty
- Australian Medical Association Tasmania, position statements, http://www.amatas.com.au/issues/
- Trees—the Forgotten Solution to Climate Change, The Wilderness Society 2006
- Business Round Table for Economic Sustainability, http://www.lec.org.au/
- Newspoll 27–28 August 2007, 400 respondents