Despite the result, WA continues to be one of the world’s biggest emitters on a per person basis.
According to Synergy, reasons for the fall included WA’s first large-scale solar power plant and a big wind farm near Geraldton coming online last year.
A spokesman noted the utility had generated more electricity from its cleaner gas-fired power stations, while closing a coal-fuelled generating unit earlier than expected. Adding to the turnaround had been an unprecedented fall in electricity demand across Australia.
The trend, which bucked decades of uninterrupted growth and has confounded industry players, has been caused by sharply higher power prices, more efficient energy appliances and rampant demand for rooftop solar panels. Another cause has been the recent closure of energy-hungry manufacturing plants.
Conservation Council of WA director Piers Verstegen welcomed the figures as good news and suggested the trend would continue on the back of the growing viability of renewable power. https://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/wa/a/25241234/greenhouse-emissions-fall/
according to the Office of the Registrar of Indigenous Corporations, mining is returning millions to Aboriginal owned corporations. Western Australia’s Pilbara is the engine room of the nation’s mining boom. But the two billion years old 400,000 square kilometres Pilbara is home to some pretty sad poverty, all of it First Peoples – Roebourne and Wickham for starters, and any of the cluster of communities around Marble Bar, Tom Price, Nullogine, Port Hedland.
Port Hedland is Australia’s busiest port, with ships leaving daily filled with iron ore extracted from Aboriginal land but with the profits returned to multinationals – next-to-nothing for the communities where many of the native title claimants live . Native title owners? A fool’s gold many say.
But if not billions of dollars there are millions of dollars going the way of Aboriginal corporations. Continue reading
Toro seeks to expand planned WA uranium mine ABC News By David Weber 8 Oct 14
A company hoping to become the first to export uranium from Western Australia has released plans for an expansion of its currently untapped mine in the state’s mid-west.
Toro Energy last year received federal environmental approval for the Wiluna project to exploit the Lake Way and Centipede deposits.
But a new environmental scoping document included two more deposits, Millipede and Lake Maitland.
The plans are open for comment with the state’s Environmental Protection Authority (EPA)………
the WA Conservation Council said the existing conditional approval should be revoked and a completely new assessment done.The council’s Mia Pepper said the added impacts of an expansion needed to be considered.”While they might think that they know a lot, there’s a lot of impacts that are unknown when you add additional deposits,” she said.
“You add additional land clearing and impact area.”What they need to do and what they should be doing as any responsible company would is look at the cumulative impacts of that increase.”
Mr Yeeles said the start of mining was some way off.
“The market is not right, the price is not right for mining at the moment but by the time we complete the assessment for Millipede and Lake Maitland, we would expect the market conditions to have improved,” he said.
Toro expects the assessment process may take up to two years. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-10-06/uranium-miners-toro-seek-project-expansion-at-wiluna-site/5794318
Anglican Church transfers investments from fossil fuels to renewables, calls for carbon pricing, and assessment of fracking
Anglican Church divests from fossil fuels, calls for fracking scrutiny in WA http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-10-06/anglican-church-moves-out-of-fossil-fuels/5793884 By Jacob Kagi and Katrina Alarkon 6 Oct 2014, The Anglican Diocese of Perth has decided to divest itself of fossil fuel investments over what it says is a responsibility to act on climate change.
The diocese made the decision at its annual synod over the weekend and now plans to put funds into renewable energy investments. It also passed a motion calling on the Federal Government to put in place an “effective carbon pricing mechanism”.
Father Evan Pederick said he hoped the measures would help to increase pressure for action to stop climate change.”Divestment was used very successfully in relation to apartheid,” he said. “It’s people power basically, it means we’re actually withdrawing energy from the offending industries and there’s no more effective message than the price message.
“In the absence especially of effective government action in this country, I think it is actually up to private institutions, or private individuals and institutions, to show the way,” he said.
Another motion appealed for the State Government to evaluate the effects of fracking in Western Australia. Father Pederick said he feared health concerns and social impacts in relation to fracking were not being adequately explored.”At the moment shale gas fracking proposals aren’t subject to the usual environmental protection agency controls,” he said.
Its investment board, the Perth Diocesan Trustees, will release a report within the next 12 months detailing how it will redirect investments into renewable energy. In August, the Uniting Church in Australia also moved to divest itself of investments in companies involved in the extraction of fossil fuels.
“Speaking with one voice” – WA’s changes to Aboriginal Heritage law rejected at bush meetings, anthropologist Dr Stephen Bennetts. Be careful what you pray for. By proposing to strip away protection for Aboriginal people’s heritage across the board, and throughout the State, the Barnett Government appears to have unwittingly conjured up a strong, united and angry Aboriginal coalition which is now mobilising against the AHA amendments. Crikey, 30 Sept 14 BOB GOSFORD | SEP 30, 2014
ABORIGINAL LEADERS IN THE KIMBERLEY, PILBARA AND PERTH HAVE REJECTED WA GOVERNMENT PLANS TO AMEND THE STATE’S ABORIGINAL HERITAGE ACT TO FURTHER STREAMLINE PROVISIONS UNDER SECTION 18 OF THE AHA WHICH ALLOW FOR THE DESTRUCTION OF ABORIGINAL SITES BY DEVELOPERS. Continue reading
Greens want Barnett to make emergency nuclear plan for WA http://www.watoday.com.au/wa-news/greens-want-barnett-to-make-emergency-nuclear-plan-for-wa-20140919-10iutv.html September 18, 2014 Brendan Foster With Australia on the brink of new conflict with Iraq, Greens MP Lynn MacLaren says she can’t believe the Barnett government doesn’t have an emergency plan if a nuclear accident happened at Fremantle Port.
On Monday, Prime Minister Tony Abbott said Australia would send 600 troops, including SAS soldiers and eight FA18 Super Hornets, to the Middle East in preparation for military action against the Islamic State terror group.
And on Thursday, more than 800 police officers raided homes in Sydney in an attempt to foil a plot to “commit violent acts”, including plans to behead a member of the public.
Ms MacLaren asked Attorney-General Michael Mischin on Wednesday night in State Parliament if the Liberals had an action plan for workers and residents living near the port in the event of the nuclear reactor incident from a nuclear-powered warship. Mr Mischin said a nuclear detonation was not a defined hazard prescribed within the Emergency Management Act 2005.
“The state emergency management arrangements allow for a controlling agency to be appointed for any hazard not prescribed in the act,” Mr Mischin said.
Ms MacLaren said as Australia prepared to send troops to Iraq, “we cannot afford to have a head-in-the-sand approach to an emergency response”.
“Since nuclear-powered vessels visit our shores, we need to be ready in the event of an accident or incident. The report tabled in response to my question was last updated in 2010,” she said.
“Nuclear weapons have been a major threat to world peace for decades, how can the state government not have an emergency response to the risk of a nuclear weapon detonation or accident?
“The consequence of even a small incident would be catastrophic. Yet, we should have a plan which factors in health care facilities and staff to provide triage care in the event of a nuclear detonation or other nuclear incident.” Ms MacLaren said with the Mayors of Peace Conference in Fremantle next week, the call to prohibit nuclear weapons was more important than ever.
Junko Morimito who will describe her experience as a 13-year-old in Hiroshima when the atomic bomb went off is one of the guest speakers at the conference.
“I will be attending the Fremantle Peace Walk which will take place on International Peace Day, Sunday 21 September – celebrating the opening of Fremantle Peace Grove. Tthis issue must be kept as a priority for leaders and the community,” Ms MacLaren said.
WA farmer living amongst wind turbines backs keeping Renewable Energy Target 7 NEWS BY CLAIRE MOODIESeptember 14, 2014 Living amongst 15 massive wind turbines might not be everyone’s idea of paradise, but West Australian Mid West farmer Bruce Garratt believes he is investing in the future.
Eight years ago, he agreed to accommodate the turbines as part of WA’s first privately-built wind farm, south of Geraldton, and is still enjoying the serenity.
“People tell me how noisy they are, people tell me how they affect your health,” he said. “I’ve had lots of people tell me different things that honestly, unless they have lived on a wind farm, they don’t really know what they are talking about.”
Mr Garratt, who manages cattle and crops on his 2,000 acre property, said the turbines — part of the Alinta Walkaway Wind Farm — provided an additional passive income, as well as a sense of purpose.
“No-one in their right mind could put up an argument and say that wind turbines aren’t of benefit,” he said. “They’re not producing C02.”
Mr Garratt is critical of the recent Warburton review that recommended either closing the Renewable Energy Target (RET) to new entrants or scaling it back…….
Coal-fired generators the winners: wind farm owner
Ludlam warns of job losses in wake of Renewable Energy Target review http://www.watoday.com.au/wa-news/ludlam-warns-of-job-losses-in-wake-of-renewable-energy-target-review-20140914-10gu11.html Liam Ducey WA Greens Senator Scott Ludlam has warned $800 million will be slashed from the WA renewable energy sector if the Abbott Government dumps the Renewable Energy Target.
The Warbuton Review into the RET, commissioned by the federal government in February, has recommended scrapping the target, which Senator Ludlam says will see up to $10.7 billion in renewable energy investment head overseas, threatening 21,000 jobs.
In WA, 16 per cent of households are solar-powered, and Mr Ludlam said the RET had benefited Perth’s poorer suburbs.
“A study by the Greens shows that WA’s poorer suburbs have the highest uptake in solar, which has collectively saved $87million a year or $560 per household,” he said. “WA is in a unique position to be the best investors in clean energy with our plentiful sunshine and independent energy market.
“WA now boasts 414 accredited solar installers and scrapping the RET would result in a loss of thousands of local jobs. The Greens has shown that if more investment into clean energy was supported, another 27,000 jobs could be created.”
A spokeswoman for State Environment minister Albert Jacob said the potential scrapping was federal government issue.
Comment is being sought from Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt.
Growing public anxiety in Greenland, over Australian uranium miner Greenland Minerals and Energy Limited (GMEL)
Hooge explains that the “mineral authorities” have fed the public disinformation over the last years but the tide may be turning, with growing concerns over environmental effects and the leftist party Inuit Ataqatigiit pledging to roll back the repeal if it wins back power.
The prospect of a relatively unknown Australian company exploiting massive untapped resources in Greenland deserves a robust public and political debate. It has thus far received nothing in Australia, and little in Denmark and Greenland.
In an age of worsening climate change, mining uranium is an arguably unsafe and potentially explosive answer to the problem
This is a story about an Australian company you’ve never heard of, operating in a nation that rarely enters the global media: Greenland. It’s a story about the intense search for energy sources in a world that’s moving away from the dirtiest fossil fuels.
Aleqa Hammond, the prime minister of Greenland, is the first woman to lead this autonomous country within the Kingdom of Denmark. She also welcomes the financial opportunities from climate change and a melting Arctic Circle……..
In October last year, Hammond pushed legislation through Greenland’s parliament to overturn a 25 year old ban on the extraction of radioactive materials, including uranium, despite countless leading environmental NGOs urging otherwise.
It attracted global interest from the rare earth and uranium industries, including from China. Concerns were also raised about Greenland’s ability to manage a toxic substance in the wake of Fukushima and Chernobyl.
The company Greenland Minerals and Energy Limited (GMEL) is based in Perth, Western Australia. This year GMEL announced a major step forward in their plan to open one of the world’s largest uranium mines in southern Greenland, at Kvanefjeld, near Narsaq. The mine will also produce fluoride, thorium and other rare earths.
There is still significant opposition to the Kvanefjeld project. The Ecological Council, a Danish NGO, organised a conference to discuss the potential contamination risks in March, noting that the mine poses serious risks for the inhabitants of the nearby village, Narsaq.
Many locals told the BBC that they worried about pollution and challenges to traditional ways of life if GMEL moved ahead with its plans.
Unsurprisingly, Danish green groups have pushed for a continued ban on uranium mining. They claim that rare earth elements can be extracted without uranium mining in Greenland.
Who owns GMEL?
This would have been an important but fairly typical contest over resources, but after issues surrounding the ownership and status of Perth-based GMEL were raised in the Greenlandic parliament, the prospects of the Australian firm may be in jeopardy. Continue reading
Proposed WA uranium mine will poison groundwater opponents say http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2014/08/12/proposed-wa-uranium-mine-will-poison-groundwater-opponents-say Environmental groups say they fear a proposed WA uranium mine will poison groundwater and affect food supplies. By Ryan Emery 12 AUG 2014 LEADING ENVIRONMENTAL GROUPS ARE CLAIMING THAT A PROPOSED URANIUM MINE WILL POISON GROUNDWATER AND AFFECT FOOD SOURCES IN WESTERN AUSTRALIA’S EASTERN PILBARA REGION.
The Kintyre project, 260km northeast of Newman, will be WA’s second most advanced uranium mine if it gets final environmental approval from the state’s Environment Minister Albert Jacob.
Uranium mining had been banned in the state until the then Liberal-National government was elected in 2008.
The state’s Environmental Protection Authority has recommended that the project, backed by Canadian uranium miner Cameco, be given conditional environmental approval.
However, opponents of the mine say the assessment was flawed.Mia Pepper from the Conservation Council of Western Australia says a hydrology report failed to consider the traditional owners’ knowledge of rainfall patterns and water flow at the proposed site.
She says they claim water flows from the site into the nearby Karlamilyi National Park, not into the Great Sandy Desert.
“The difference between those two scenarios are really significant when you’re talking about a uranium mine and the pathways for radioactive mine waste to leak into that groundwater and just how far that contamination could spread and what areas it could impact on,” she said.
“And we’re talking about a national park, and we’re talking about communities so the impacts are really significant.”
Concerns have also beeing raised over radioactive waste management, and the impactof the mine on rare and threatened species.
The mine’s proponent Cameco has previously said it is confident it can mine in the area “in a way which maintains the ecological functions and environmental values in the area.”
A decision on ministerial environmental approval is expected in the coming months.
http://tonyserve.wordpress.com/2014/08/12/uranium-mine-abandoned-but-what-about-taxpayer-subsidies-to-mining-co-australia-wapol-auspol/ Uranium miner Areva quizzed over Royalties for Regions payment, 12 August 2014 Greens Member for Mining and Pastoral Region, Robin Chapple MLC has quizzed the State Government over its funding support of a subsidiary of French uranium miner Areva, for its North Canning Project.
Earlier this week, Areva Resources Australia announced that it would move to abandon the Kimberley uranium project because it is not technically feasible.
“Did they get Royalties for Regions funding? Was it utilised or if not, was it returned? If not, why not?” Mr Chapple said.
“I am gobsmacked at the constant allocations of funding being poured into the pockets of those already at the very top of the super-rich mining pyramid. It’s an inequity of the highest order.
“The Royalties for Regions Scheme should be taking from the exploitative, extractive industries and supporting true regional development. We should be funding future industries, affordable housing and community infrastructure that will ensure sustainability beyond this limited mining boom. Why are we using these precious funds to facilitate unsustainable mining practices?
“It’s obvious that the State is struggling to provide affordable housing, energy infrastructure, good public transport options, community and health services, let alone take care of our fragile environment.
“Whichever way we look at it, we cannot justify this expenditure,” Mr Chapple said.
Yawuru People – Making a stand against fracking reaching thousands of people as they make their way to the races in Broome today. Damian Kelly 13 Aug 14 http://handsoffcountry.blogspot.com.au/2014/08/normal-0-false-false-false-en-us-ja-x.html
The Mining Company Buru – lead this risky environmental venture which could be just another failed attempt by a Company to run roughshod over communities in NW Australia. Woodside’s withdrawal from James Price Point in 2013 and more recently French nuclear power giant Areva has abandoned a Kimberley uranium project. With Buru’s falling share price, No Social Licence, delays and low cash flow the writing seems to be on the wall. Buru are also refusing to release information to the community regarding the chemicals they plan to use.
In short – Fracking is the process of drilling then injecting fluid, much of it toxic, into the ground at high pressure, to fracture gas-bearing rocks to release natural gas.
During this process, methane gas and toxic chemicals can leak from wells and contaminate nearby groundwater. Broome draws its drinking water from the ground. Buru Energy have plans to frack the Kimberley. The US, there have been more than 1000 documented cases of water contamination near areas of gas drilling. Some of the countries that have banned fracking are France, Bulgaria and Northern Ireland. The Australian state of Victoria currently has a moratorium on fracking.
Here in WA the state Government fully supports fracking.
Fast track approvals should be dumped: KLC ABC News 6 Aug 14 By Nicolas Perpitch Proposed changes to Western Australia’s Aboriginal Heritage Act have been labelled discriminatory, amid calls for them to be dumped and the act rewritten. In a scathing submission, the Kimberley Land Council (KLC) also warned the amendments would disenfranchise Indigenous people.
KLC chief executive Nolan Hunter said the draft bill focused power in the hands of one bureaucrat – the Department of Aboriginal Affairs’ chief executive officer. “This is a totally bureaucratic government process, so we pretty much will be disenfranchised in terms of having a say once all this is set,” he said.
“This basically discriminates against Aboriginal people. It favours the state’s position.”
Currently the Aboriginal Cultural Material Committee (ACMC), established through the act, provides advice and recommendations to the Aboriginal Affairs Minister on heritage sites. Fast track’ authority for permits handed to CEOMinister Peter Collier revealed the draft bill in mid-June, saying the pace of economic development in recent years, particularly in mining and construction, had highlighted inadequacies in the current legislation.
The draft bill would speed up the approval process for mining and other development by giving the Department of Aboriginal Affairs chief executive officer “expedited” or “fast track” authority to declare whether or not an Aboriginal heritage site existed.
The CEO would be able to issue land use permits when he or she decided a site would not be significantly damaged or altered.
Submissions on the draft amendments have been overwhelmingly critical of the proposed changes, in particular the new fast track approvals process. The KLC and other land councils, Aboriginal corporations, the Law Society of WA, individuals and anthropologists such as La Trobe University’s Nicholas Herriman have argued the new process would largely cut out Aboriginal people.
The Law Society, in its submission, said the proposed amendments stripped the ACMC of its evaluative role and predominantly shifted power to the CEO, who was not obliged to consult with Aboriginal people or to apply anthropological expertise.
Mining and other companies could appeal decisions but no statutory right of review was provided for Aboriginal custodians or traditional owners.
“The lack of such a right again negates the claim that these amendments are increasing the strength of the voice of Aboriginal people or that the amendments increase accountability,” the Law Society said.
The Goldfields Land and Sea Council pointed out the Government had not specified the process to be followed by the CEO in making his or her decisions, raising concerns about “the validity of any decision made”.
“It remains that the most significant issue raised by the proposed amendments to the act is that the regulations that will govern how it will operate are not yet available,” the land council wrote in its submission…………
‘Streamlining development’ aim of act: council
National Native Title Council CEO Brian Wyatt said the changes were not primarily directed at heritage protection.”There’s no real will or desire by government to protect heritage. It’s all about streamlining the processes of development,” Mr Wyatt said.
The KLC also stressed a new section in the act making it a criminal offence not to declare potential heritage sites could force land councils and representative bodies to break the law. There would be fines for people, other than traditional owners, who did not report sites or objects.
Mr Hunter said traditional owners disclosed information to consultants, development proponents and representative bodies on a legal, confidential basis and that arrangement could fall foul of the new provision.
“It sets a default position where we can be subject to a criminal prosecution with very little culpability on our part,” he said.
“How can you create legislation that compels you to break the law?”
He called on the Government to dump the draft bill and start again……….
Submissions on the draft amendments to the 42-year-old act close this week following an eight-week public consultation period. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-08-05/indigenous-groups-speak-out-about-aboriginal-heritage-act/5650320/?site=indigenous&topic=latest
compensation processes in the Act and Bill for Aboriginal peoples facing damage to or
destruction of their heritage.
Dear Chief Heritage Officer
Feedback on the Aboriginal heritage legislative changes
Thank you for the opportunity to provide feedback on the Aboriginal heritage legislative
I would like first to acknowledge that the Aboriginal Heritage Amendment Bill 2014 makes
improvements, for example the extension of time in which to bring a prosecution, the
provision of express penalties where these are currently lacking, and the increased
penalties for offences.
The Bill also seems likely to deliver on its promise to deliver better quality registers, and the
inclusion of a historic record of all approvals should assist with monitoring compliance.
The Bill also seems likely to deliver on its promise to deliver faster decision making, and the
prescribing of processes for decision-making would make those processes more certain
However, on the draft legislation currently available, and particularly in the absence of draft
regulations, I am not at all satisfied that the legislative changes will effectively improve
either the protection of Aboriginal heritage or adequately involve Aboriginal peoples in that
process. At the end of the day, protection of Aboriginal heritage is what the Act is for. Continue reading
Do the Martu peoples want uranium mining? Fukushima Emergency what can we do? 31 July 14 Western desert-living Martu Elder, Thelma Rawlins said that many of her people remain opposed to the “go-aheads” given to uranium mining on Martu Country.
“Kintyre should be left alone, our Country left alone.”
“This is really bad stuff in the ground, and it will be really bad stuff if it comes above the ground. We are getting too close to bad stuff happening,” said Ms Rawlins.
“Country will be made bad, our water made bad. Our water is salty, the river bed is salty. We have to be careful with our water. The uranium out of ground will take our water away.”
“Leave the uranium in the ground. It is bad stuff that they want our people to be next to, this is not good.”
But Western Australia’s controversial Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) has given the thumbs up for the CAMECO company proposal to mine uranium on Martu Country, at Kintyre which is next to the significant waterways of Kalmilyi National Park in the Pilbara. The EPA has been the subject of one controversy after another and most recently with the now defunct James Price Gas Hub proposal in the Kimberley where it had also have given the thumbs up despite widespread public opposition.
Two prospective uranium mine sites in Western Australia are nearing the likelihood of becoming operational in the next couple of years, both near Aboriginal communities – the other uranium site is near Wiluna and Toro Energy may have it operational by the end of next year. By the end of the century Western Australia will be transformed into one of the world’s largest uranium miners according to insiders in the industry. Western Australia is rich in easily accessible high grade uranium. The miners are chomping at the bit, investing in uranium mining research divisions within their multinational companies. It is no secret that the State and Federal Governments are supportive of mining uranium despite the litany of well-known risks……
“We are the Custodians of the Land. It must come before all else,” said Mr Cooke.
“Uranium is a poison. Our rivers will be poisoned. Our trees will be poisoned. Our food will be contaminated. Our people will become sick.”
“Uranium mining can hurt us forever, hurt every generation of our children to come.” http://fukushimaemergencywhatcanwedo.blogspot.com.au/2014/07/do-martu-peoples-want-uranium-mining.html