Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Wiluna uranium project not viable due to flooding risks

Lake Way flooding proves Wiluna unviable http://www.robinchapple.com/lake-way-flooding-proves-wiluna-unviable 27 Mar 15, (Good photos)  After yesterday flying over Lake Way to see the extent of flooding in the area, WA Greens spokesperson on uranium Robin Chapple MLC has expressed deep concern about the future of proposed uranium mining on the lake bed.

 Toro Energy Ltd plans to store radioactive tailings from the proposed Wiluna uranium mine – up to 100 million tonnes – in the mined-out Centipede and Millipede pits, which will also reside on the lake bed and are currently underwater.
 The company has previously cited flooding as a non-issue claiming the lake to be a natural drainage point however photographs taken by the Hon Robin Chapple MLC reveal this to be untrue.
 Mr Chapple said the extensive flooding at Lake Way raised very serious concerns about the ability of Toro Energy Ltd to effectively manage water whilst mining such a volatile mineral on a lake bed.
“I do not believe this company has properly accounted, nor planned, for potential flooding to the extent we have seen this week at Lake Way,” he said.
“Not only would flood waters of this magnitude carry radioactive material to other parts of the ecosystem but upon drying out, could potentially release large quantities of oxidised uranium – radioactive dust – into the atmosphere.
“Had this been an active mine site we would now be dealing with an environmental disaster on a large scale.”
For comment please contact Robin Chapple on 0409 379 263 or 9486 8255.

March 28, 2015 Posted by | environment, uranium, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Flooding danger to uranium tailings at proposed Wiluna uranium mine

exclamation-Chapple says water could increase the risk at Toro,  Kalgoorlie Miner, 26 Mar 15  Mining and Pastoral MLC Robin Chapple has expressed concerns about plans to mine uranium in Wiluna after the “flooding” of Lake Way.

His comments came this week after a flyover revealed what Mr Chapple termed flooding on the lake bed. Toro Energy plans to store radioactive tailings from the proposed Wiluna uranium mine — up to 100 million tonnes — in the mined-out Centipede and Millipede pits, which will also be on the lake bed and are now underwater. The company has cited flooding as a non-issue, claiming the lake to be a natural drainage point, according to Mr Chapple.

Mr Chapple said the extensive flooding at Lake Way raised serious concerns about Toro’s ability to manage water effectively while mining on a lake bed. “I do not believe this company has properly accounted, nor planned, for potential flooding to the extent we have seen this week at Lake Way,” he said

“Not only would floodwaters of this magnitude carry radioactive material to other parts of the ecosystem, but on drying out could potentially release large quantities of oxidised uranium … into the atmosphere.

Mia Pepper Nuclear Free Campaigner Conservation Council of Western AustraliaAbout the flooding of Lake Way – the proposed site for the “Wiluna uranium project” including three pits on Lake Way. We’ve raised the issue that Toro Energy want to store about 100 million tonnes of radioactive tailings in two mined out pits on the lake bed (Centipede and Millipede) – the Department of Mines and Petroleum haven’t yet approved or even seen a tailings management plan from the company. We are focused on making sure the tailings don’t end up in this lake!

Conservation Council of Western Australia (Inc.) City West Lotteries House, 2 Delhi St, West Perthmia.pepper@ccwa.org.au www.ccwa.org.au M 0415 380 808 T (08) 9420 7291 F (08) 9420 7273

March 27, 2015 Posted by | environment, uranium, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Western Australian government dismissive about environmental concerns re Kintyre uranium mine

Pilbara uranium mine: Minister dismisses concerns over environmental approval ABC News 6 Mar 15 Western Australia’s Environment Minister Albert Jacob has dismissed concerns about his conditional approval of a Pilbara uranium mine. One of the world’s largest uranium producers, Cameco, is proposing to build the Kintyre open-cut mine about 270 kilometres north-east of Newman.

Environmentalists have condemned the decision, citing concerns over the level of radiation monitoring required of the company throughout the Karlamilyi National Park, where the mine would be located……..

the WA Conservation Council’s Mia Pepper said the Government should ensure any animal which is consumed by traditional landowners, not just those that are endangered, also remain protected.”In that area there is a lot of hunting and the big concern is around the radiological uptake in bush foods, which could impact public health,” she said.

“Whether there’s a big risk or a small risk, the point is that there should be monitoring and there should be evidence that the company can provide to the community to say that there is no risk.”……..

Traditional owners, the Martu people, signed a land-use deal with Cameco in 2012.

Kintyre now requires federal environmental approval.

The Conservation Council said environmental groups have vowed to continue to fight the project and will take their concerns to Canberra.http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-03-06/minister-dismisses-concerns-over-uranium-mine-approval/6286908

March 7, 2015 Posted by | environment, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Australia has quietly stopped testing foodstuffs from Japan

plate-radiation

 

Australia Silently Stopped Testing of Food Imports  http://fukushima-news-en.senmasa.com/post/112680359130/australia-silently-stopped-testing-of-food-imports   [Mathaba News Network]Australia has ceased all testing of food imports from Japan, other Asian countries food also contaminated, ongoing leakages from Fukushima nuclear plant The north Pacific Ocean is already contaminated by large amounts of toxins and pollution from dumping .

March 6, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, environment | Leave a comment

Queensland’s new Labor government acts to save the Great barrier Reef

beautiful-underwater-world-Great Barrier Reef polluters face tougher action under Queensland’s new government Labor government appoints state’s first ever reef minister as it steps up plan to avoid the UN listing the ecosystem as ‘in danger’ Guardian, , 18 Feb 15 The Queensland government may adopt tough new regulations to tackle the amount of pollution flowing onto the Great Barrier Reef, with the state’s first ever reef minister vowing to strengthen protections to avoid the ecosystem being listed as “in danger” by the UN.

Continue reading

February 20, 2015 Posted by | environment, Queensland | Leave a comment

No testing of imported foodstuffs for radioactive contamination

plate-radiationWhy Don’t Australia and Europe Test Food for Radiation Contamination from Fukushima and Chernobyl? Living Safe,  Nicole Moir, 8 Nov 14, I am bringing this important issue to the forefront over and over again as I want, as do many others, for the Australian and European government to take steps to protect us from radiation in food and raw ingredients. I have spent the last few months researching into food and raw ingredients, especially certified organic products, grown and harvested from regions affected by radiation by the two huge and tragic accidents of both Chernobyl and Fukushima. Unbelievably it seems the official organic certification bodies in both Australia and Europe don’t test food and raw ingredients for radiation, but trustingly and surprisingly,

rely on the government bodies to advise them in this area and in Australia ARPANSA the government body doesn’t feel there is enough of a risk to warrant it! Radiation contamination takes hundreds of years to dissipate and not just a few years, as is the case with Fukushima and a couple decades as is the case with Chernobyl…..

The ACO pointed me in the direction of ARPANSA- Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency, see my prior correspondence with them here.  

Did you know that ARPANSA stopped testing ALL products from Japan in January 2014 and yet the contamination is spreading across the Pacific and the leak is not contained?……

a reply letter from the European Commission Unit F4.2. ………….was even more worrying, as they admit they don’t conduct regular testing, yet they admit that  in the last few years they were notified of higher than acceptable levels of radiation is some wild foods grown in Italy and the Ukraine/Belarus.  I knew this as I had seen articles in newspapers of radiation in certified organic blueberry jam made in Italy from imported ingredients and also high radiation in wild mushrooms imported into Switzerland.……….

Correspondence  with ARPANSA and European Commission are included in this article

http://www.livingsafe.com.au/blog/291-why-are-australia-and-europe-not-testing-foods-for-radiation-contamination-from-fukushima-and-chernobyl

November 8, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, environment, health | Leave a comment

Environment groups call for full disclosure of Energy Resources of Australia’s Kakadu uranium plan

kakaduNorthern Territory and national environment groups have pledged to fight a proposal for a new underground uranium mine within the boundaries of Kakadu National Park, arguing the proponent Energy Resources of Australia has failed to supply key details that would allow NT and federal environment ministers to make an informed assessment of the project’s economic risks.

Energy Resources of Australia, majority owned by Rio Tinto, has submitted a Draft Environment Impact Assessment prior to finalising and releasing a pre-feasibility study that contains important project details, including economic data directly relevant to the company’s unproven capacity to rehabilitate the troubled mine site.

“ERA’s financial struggles are well known to investors who have fled the depressed uranium sector in droves since Fukushima,” said Lauren Mellor of the Environment Centre NT.

“The company has lost more than $400 million since the disaster, which was directly fuelled by Australian uranium, struck in 2011.

“With rehabilitation liabilities of more than $700 million – worth more than ERA’s market value – the company has warned the ASX it may not be able to fully fund future rehabilitation. Federal and NT assessors should demand all project data be made available for public scrutiny during the assessment process.”

ERA is required to end mining and mineral processing at the Ranger mine in January 2021 and the groups are concerned that the planned new underground operation, known as Ranger 3 Deeps, would complicate and delay the company’s mandated clean up and rehabilitation period.

“Ranger has been operating inside Kakadu for more than three decades and has experienced hundreds of leaks, spills and license breaches in that time, including a major radioactive spill last year that shut the plant for six months,” said the Australian Conservation Foundation’s Dave Sweeney.

“The mine is ageing, failing and is overdue for retirement. But instead of a planned and costed clean up and exit plan, ERA is pushing ahead with incomplete plans for a new underground mine, playing radioactive roulette at Ranger.”

“We will actively contest any new uranium mine in Kakadu because this company has a track record of broken pipes and broken promises.

“Federal and NT Environment Ministers responsible for assessment of the Ranger 3 Deeps project should require ERA to come clean about its plans and its projections and ensure all the missing project data is provided for public scrutiny.”

Editors’ Note: Dr Gavin Mudd, Senior Environmental Engineer at Monash University and a leading expert in uranium mining , legacy mines and groundwater impacts will address a public forum at 6pm on Wednesday 5 Nov at the Groove Café in Nightcliff to discuss the complex rehabilitation challenges facing ERA at the Ranger site. Dr Mudd is also available for comment and background briefings.

CONTACT: Dr Gavin Mudd, 0419 117 494. Lauren Mellor, ECNT, 0413 534 125 or Dave Sweeney, ACF, 0408 317 812

 

November 6, 2014 Posted by | environment, Northern Territory, uranium | Leave a comment

Rum Jungle uranium mine- its pollution still a costly problem over 60 years later

$200m sought to rehabilitate former Rum Jungle uranium mine, ABC News 31 Oct 14 By Joanna Crothers    The Rum-Jungle-mineDepartment of Mines and Energy is seeking $200 million from the Federal Government to rehabilitate the former Rum Jungle mine site.

Attempts to rehabilitate the site, Australia’s first uranium mine, stem back to the 1970s.

Scientists from the Department of Mines and Energy (DoE) have been drilling at the site over the past three weeks and analysing rock samples.It is estimated that five million cubic metres of rock will need to be relocated or re-buried in two of the mine’s deepest pits.

The process is likely to take three years and cost millions, scientists say…….Uranium and copper were mined at the site from the 1950s until the site closed in 1971. Waste rock at the site was buried but it started releasing acid and metals into the nearby East Finniss River. Ms Laurencont said the rocks were larger and more oxidised than was thought.

The Department said a purpose-built facility was needed to store the waste, so there was no further damage to the environment.

Last year the Federal Government allocated $14 million for developing a rehabilitation plan, in addition to $8 million already spent on a preliminary plan.

Acidic drainage has plagued the site since it closed and the Finniss River is a significant fishing sport for Indigenous people and Territory anglers.

The recreational reserve now known as the Rum Jungle South Recreation Reserve was shut from 2010 until 2012 by the Northern Territory Government where some low-level radiation was detected.

The Department will present its plan of rehabilitation to the Treasury in March next year.Other plans to rehabilitate include cleaning up other areas of the site and reintroducing vegetation onto the site. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-10-31/mines-department-seeking-200m-to-fix-former-rum-jungle-mine/5858764

November 3, 2014 Posted by | environment, Northern Territory, uranium, wastes | Leave a comment

The threat of uranium mining to Cape York’s river system

Uranium: The new threat to Cape York’s Rivers ACF, October 23, 2014 Andrew Picone 

It was recently revealed that the French nuclear corporation Areva has been exploring for uranium in the Carpentaria basin in south west Cape York and the north east of the Gulf country for uranium deposits. Areva state that Australia possesses one of the largest uranium reserves in the world and that tens of thousands of hectares are of exploration interest.

Areva already have a track record in Australia. They are the same company that Kakadu Traditional Owner Jeffrey Lee refused to allow to mine on his ancestral lands. As the senior Traditional Owner of the Djok clan and senior custodian of Koongarra where uranium was found, Lee decided to never allow mining in the culturally and ecologically sensitive area.

Despite this opposition, Jeffrey Lee endured years of pressure to allow mining in the former Koongarra Project Area, long excluded from the surrounding Kakadu National Park and World Heritage area.

Turning his back on personal wealth, Lee chose to prioritise country and culture over cash stating; “I could have been a rich man. Billions of dollars… You can offer me anything but my land is cultural land.”

Only last year did the threat of uranium mining on Jeffrey’s country get laid to rest with the area finally and formally added to Kakadu. With the right to veto mining afforded to Traditional Owners in the Northern Territory under the Land Rights (NT) Act 1976, Mr Lee had the legal power to say no. Fortunately for all Australian’s – now and in the future – he exercised this power.

Unfortunately, this opportunity is not afforded to Traditional Owners under Queensland’s Aboriginal Land Act 1992. On Cape York Peninsula Areva has largely flown under the radar, and have been exploring in the Mitchell, Coleman and Gilbert river basins and areas further south and south west. …….

Clearly, the health of the Mitchell River and its tributaries affects the health of the people who rely on its waters for food, culture and lifestyle. As a healthy functioning ecosystem, the Mitchell River floodplain region is part of the real northern food bowl.

When Campbell Newman went to the 2012 state election with a ‘crystal clear’ commitment not to overturn the ban on uranium mining, Areva were already were warming up their drill rigs. Uranium mining is a dirty game and we’ve already seen severe contamination from leaks at Rio Tinto’s Ranger mine in the Northern Territory. Given the amount of wet season flooding on the Mitchell River, there is no doubt of direct risk to the Cape’s rivers from any future uranium operation.

What’s more, it seems as though the public’s right to contest and object to mining proposals is being eroded. Regardless of whether you live next door, downstream or elsewhere, your rights to contest mining proposals was diminished with the passing of the Mineral and Energy Resources (Common Provisions) Bill 2014 in Queensland’s parliament recently.  When enacted this heavy handed law will take away our rights to contest around 90% of mining projects.

Our healthy rivers and waterways are more than just unallocated commodities for the resource sector to consume and then dispose of. Our quality of life, through culture and lifestyle, depend on the life-giving water of the regions spectacular and precious river systems.

In the Mitchel River basin we are already seeing in-stream mining, a massive increase in exploration and increased sediment loads in aquatic environments. Introducing the risk of uranium contamination into the Mitchell and other rivers would be a disaster for people and country. It makes no sense to threaten the resource that sustains life with the ill-conceived and fast-tracked digging of a mineral that threatens life.  http://www.acfonline.org.au/news-media/acf-opinion/uranium-new-threat-cape-york%E2%80%99s-rivers

 

 

October 31, 2014 Posted by | environment, Queensland | Leave a comment

Tony Abbott about to sign away Australia’s environmental controls to USA big business

Trans-Pacific-PartnershipThe agreement poses a very real risk to the environment,” says Professor Jane Kelsey, an expert on globalisation and economic regulation from the University of Auckland in New Zealand. “If Australia signs an agreement with these mechanisms in place it will make it harder for the government to put new regulations in place.”

That includes any subsidies we might put on renewable energy, or protection we might put in place to save an endangered species.”

Kelsey. “The Abbott government is basically be binding the hands of all future governments on environmental issues.”

So what is the likelihood of Australia ending up signing the agreement as it stands? Prime Minister Tony Abbott has indicated he’s extremely supportive of signing the deal, and Andrew Robb, has stated that negotiations are in the final stages and the treaty is“ready to be sealed”.

TPP: the free-trade threat to Australia’s environment, ABC 24 Oct 14 FIONA MACDONALD Australia is preparing to sign an agreement that would give international corporations the power to go over the government’s head on environmental issues. Here’s what you need to know about the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement.

STRETCHING WIDE, blue and deep, the St Lawrence River in Canada drains America’s Great Lakes to the sea. Along its shores, painted weatherboard cottages cradled by vibrant autumnal trees take in the view of the vast body of water.

This peaceful scene belies the legal battle for what lies underground along this river basin. The Canadian state of Quebec is being sued for CAD$250 million of taxpayers’ money after putting a pause on fracking.

To be clear, Quebec hasn’t decided to ban fracking, it’s simply asked for time to conduct environmental studies to find out whether the process is safe — but mining company Lone Pine Resources has taken the government to an international court, claiming it’s lost millions of dollars in profits as a result of the snap decision.

And if previous trials are anything to go by, there’s a good chance Lone Pine will win, even if it turns out fracking is dangerous to the environment and public health.

It sounds crazy, but it’s legal. And under an agreement Australia is set to sign within 12 months, companies operating in Australia will be able to sue the Government if it makes decisions that hurt their profits — for example, putting in new policies to protect the environment. Continue reading

October 25, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, environment, politics international | Leave a comment

Uranium exploration a concern for New South Wales graziers

Graziers on alert as uranium exploration looms ABC News, By Jacqueline Breen 19 Oct 14 Graziers are watching closely as the state government prepares to grant uranium exploration licenses in the state’s far west.

Last month the government overturned the ban on uranium exploration and invited six companies to apply to explore for deposits near Broken Hill, Cobar and Dubbo.

The state’s Resources and Energy Division has since held a stakeholder meeting in Broken Hill, attended by the local council, New South Wales Farmers and the West Darling Pastoralists’ Association.

Association president Chris Wilhelm says landholders will be the first affected when exploration begins and he wants their rights protected……( Map below shows areas in New South Wales where uranium deposts exist, could be explored for))

map-NSW-uranium-exploration

The ban on uranium mining in New South Wales remains in place. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-10-20/graziers-watch-closely-as-uranium-exploration-looms/5825950

 

October 21, 2014 Posted by | environment, New South Wales, uranium | Leave a comment

A backward move for Australia’s environment: Federal govt abandons regulation to South Australia’s control

highly-recommendedSouth Australia’s Assessment Bilateral Agreement with the Commonwealth is finalised

As part of its broadly criticised ‘One Stop Shop’ agenda the Federal Government has announced that its Assessment Bilateral Agreement with South Australia has been finalised and signed by both parties.  The Bilateral Agreement will come into force 30 days after execution, on or about 24 October.

The Agreement allows the Commonwealth to now rely on South Australian environmental impact assessment processes in assessing ‘matters of national environmental significance’ defined under the Federal Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.  This change has been widely criticised.  There is significant doubt as to whether existing State regulations can actually be brought up to meet the standards required under the EPBC Act.  There is also concern about whether the cash-strapped states are likely to make effective champions of our environmental assets when at the same time they are under increasing pressure to jettison environmental safeguards in order to pump through development and replenish state coffers.

http://www.environment.gov.au/topics/environment-protection/environment-assessments/bilateral-agreements/sa

October 18, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, environment, politics, South Australia | Leave a comment

Victorian communities at Dartmoor and Drumborg declare themselves ‘gas field free’.

Residents to declare Dartmoor and Drumborg in Victoria ‘gas field free’   http://www.weeklytimesnow.com.au/news/national/residents-to-declare-dartmoor-and-drumborg-in-victoria-gas-field-free/story-fnkfnspy-1227093367623  CIMARA DOUTRÉ WEEKLY TIMES NOW OCTOBER 17, 2014  

TWO Western Victorian communities will today declare themselves ‘gas field free’.

A number of minor and micro party politicians will attend the events at Dartmoor and Drumborg.

It takes the number of Victorian communities to have declared themselves as gas field free to 31.

Dartmoor farmer Michael Greenham said the response to invitations was heartening.

“Unfortunately several of the major party representatives for Lowan, South Coast and Western Victoria are not able to attend, but some minor party and independent candidates will be there,” Mr Greenham said.

“In talking with them, everyone is on the same side of the see-saw on this issue of shale gas fracking — it’s just a matter of how far along the seat they sit.

“Our communities just want to make sure prospective parliamentarians keep moving down our ‘total ban’ end, to ensuring there is no budging when the heavyweights of the unconventional gas mining companies start jumping up and down on the other end. “

The Victorian Government has a moratorium on all onshore gas exploration and fracking in place until July next year.

This week, Energy Minister Russell Northe unveiled a new website to allow landholders to search for mining licenses that cover their property.

October 18, 2014 Posted by | environment, Victoria | Leave a comment

A vision for a modern outback in Australia

Another imagined future is to treat the Outback as a land ripe for unfettered development. It would divide the landscape into exploited and conserved (or neglected) sectors, and would seek to transform the areas by creating an economy highly reliant on intensive agriculture and mining.

It would seek to overcome logistical and environmental constraints of such industrialisation through government subsidies. This may create brief economic growth in a few districts. However, in the long term this approach would cause irredeemable loss to those values that make the Outback so distinctive and important.

Env-AustThere is a different future that instead recognises the extra­ordinary existing inherent value in the Outback, and supports development that adapts to and works within the environmental and other constraints of remote and dry lands

A Modern Outback — nature, people and the future of remote Australia BARRY TRAILL THE AUSTRALIAN OCTOBER 11, 2014 “……  The Outback stands out as one of the great natural places globally, a place where nature remains in abundance; a landscape where the bush still stands, where the rivers still flow and where wildlife still moves as it always has to find food and shelter in a tough ­environment……..

There are especially magical, mysterious, spectacular places in the Outback — Kakadu, Uluru, the Kimberley — icons that draw visitors from the nation and ­beyond.

But these are parts of a whole, places embedded within a vast natural landscape, and dependent on the greater landscape for their ecological health. It’s essential that we think about the Outback as an entire and modern whole because its varied landscapes now face similar problems…….

The Outback is at a crossroads economically and environmentally. Social and economic development is highly dependent on maintaining the natural health of the Outback. The condition of many landscapes and wildlife species in the Outback is dependent on active human management.

It is possible, and Australia now faces the challenge and the opportunity, to create a modern Outback that depends on nature, which in turn supports people, jobs and regional economies…….. Continue reading

October 11, 2014 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, environment | Leave a comment

Queensland government quite prepared to export uranium through Great Barrier Reef

beautiful-underwater-world-Darwin and Adelaide likely export hubs for Queensland uranium (includes audios) ABC Rural  By Marty McCarthy 14 Aug 14  “……….Mr Sweeney also says he’s not convinced by the Queensland Government’s assertions that Queensland ports won’t export uranium in the near future, negating the need for transfer to Darwin or Adelaide. “The Queensland Government has had a number of direct opportunities to rule [exporting from Queensland] out and it hasn’t,” he said.

“They’ve kept the door open for future uranium exports from a Queensland Port, and particularly from the Port of Townsville.”

“We’ve seen in both the Federal Government’s energy white paper, and in clear statements by the Australian Uranium Association, an industry body, a desire to develop an east coast port for uranium exports,” he said.

Mr Sweeney suspects Townsville is the most likely city to become a future Queensland-based export hub for uranium, despite Mr Cripps’ saying it is unlikely. “The Ben Lomond [uranium] project is 50 kilometres up the road from Townsville, now you join those dots and you get a picture of ships through the Great Barrier Reef,” he said.

Canadian miner Mega Uranium, although interested in the Ben Lomond site, it is yet to announce plans to re-open it.

However, a French-owned mining company is spending millions of dollars on uranium exploration near remote towns in north-west Queensland, in a race to be the state’s first uranium miner since the ban 32 years ago.

AREVA Resources has drilled more than 90 holes since late 2012, and managing director Joe Potter says the company plans to continue searching.

“The change in policy and the certainty around the ability to mine uranium in Queensland has given us the confidence to press on with our exploration and see if we can become the first uranium miner,” he said.

The company plans to continue searching around Cloncurry, west of Mt Isa, later this year……http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-08-13/queensland-looks-to-adelaide-anddarwin-to-export-uranium/5666458

August 14, 2014 Posted by | environment, Queensland, uranium | Leave a comment

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