Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Former Environment Minister rejected department advice and approved uranium mine day before election called

Melissa Price approved uranium mine knowing it could lead to extinction of 12 species  https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/jul/04/melissa-price-approved-uranium-mine-knowing-it-could-lead-to-extinction-of-12-species?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other  Former environment minister rejected department advice and approved Yeelirrie mine day before election called. Lisa Cox,  4 Jul 2019  The former environment minister Melissa Price acknowledged that approval of a uranium mine in Western Australia could lead to the extinction of up to 12 native species but went ahead with the decision anyway.

The admission is contained in a statement of reasons signed by the minister before she approved the Yeelirrie uranium mine, 500km north of Kalgoorlie, the day before the federal election was called in April.

The document also shows the environment and energy department recommended conditions that would require the developer, Cameco, to ensure the project would not result in the extinction of up to 11 stygofauna, which are tiny groundwater species.

But Price instead adopted a weaker set of conditions aimed at reducing the risk to groundwater species but which the department said contained “significant uncertainties” as to whether or not they would be successful.

Price acknowledged the department had recommended tougher conditions but said in the statement that if they were imposed there was “a real chance that the project would not go ahead”.

“In making this recommendation, the department considered only the environmental outcomes, and did not weigh the environmental risks against the social and economic benefits of the project,” she said.

“Rather, as the department’s briefing noted, this balancing exercise was for me to do”.

Price wrote that she “accepted that there was a risk” that species could be lost but that the department’s advice was this was not “inevitable” if the project went ahead.

The statement of reasons also notes that the project could lead to the wipeout of the entire western population of a species of saltbush, known as the Atriplex yeelirrie.

The saltbush has just two distinct populations, the western and eastern population, both of which are found on Yeelirrie station.

The statement of reasons says the western population occurs entirely within the proposed area for the mine and there is a risk the development would clear all of it.

The Australian Conservation Foundation, which requested Price’s statement of reasons, described the document as “an extraordinary piece of decision making”.

July 4, 2019 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, environment, politics, uranium

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