Sunday, August 12, 2007

a very long post about gunn's pulp mill

Below is a letter written to my local Federal MP Jason Wood, it's about the proposed pulp mill in Tasmania, I urge anyone who is concerned to contact their local federal MP urgently, Yarra Ranges federal pollies are:

Jason Wood
Tony Smith
Fran Bailey

Dear Jason

I write to you with regard to the proposed Gunn's pulp mill in Tasmania as a concerned constituent and as a representative of our community, many of whom are also concerned about this matter.

I am deeply concerned that the process surrounding the assessment of the pulp mill has been less than rigorous. Of great concern to me is the change in process which has seen Gunns withdraw from a method that would have comprehensively addressed the pulp mill's environmental impacts by an independent expert Resource Planning and Development Commission (RPDC) to one now which sees the Lennon Government of Tasmania not only re-writing legislation applying to Gunn's pulp mill, but fast tracking its approval.

For the last two years, Gunns, the Tasmanian Government and the Federal Government have assured the public that this comprehensive study into impacts would be undertaken. However in March this year as the RPDC tried to come to grips with the range of public submissions that highlighted the significant environmental concerns, Gunns withdrew from the process.

There has been a great deal of media attention on this issue, some recent television reports have suggested that the Tasmania Government's recently reconstituted Assessment Panel is simply tailoring its report to suit Gunns and ignoring the growing and significant evidence to the contrary. I believe that the proposed pulp mill needs the agreement of Minister Turnbull to proceed, as he must ensure that any pulp mill meets world's best standards.

This mill, as a minimum should be plantation based only and should not rely on the continued destruction of our native forests; if this condition is not imposed there is no doubt that the mill will consume millions of tonnes of native forests. The logging to feed the pulp mill will destroy the habitat of rare and threatened species such as the wedge-tailed eagle and spotted-tail quoll. It will destroy forests that are part of the water catchment for towns such as Launceston. It will destroy forests in wild and scenic places such as the Great Western Tiers, Ben Lomond, Blue Tier and the North-East Highlands. These are not only natural treasures of Tasmania but they precious to all Australians and we must do all that we can to conserve these areas on behalf of our local and global community.

There are also grave concerns about the level of pollution entering Bass Strait and the heavily populated Tamar Valley.

I understand that the environmental assessments are due to be tabled later this month; given the action of the Tasmanian Government to date I'm sure they will waste no time to act on the assessment's conclusions. I understand that you hold the position of Secretary of the Environment and Water Resources Back Bench Committee. I urge you in this role and as my local MP to ensure that you do all you can to make sure the Federal Government implements as a minimum that this mill operates at world's best standards. Operation of the mill must include that only plantation timbers are used, it does not destroy native forests and does not pollute the Bass Strait or the Tamar Valley.

We all have a duty to future generations to protect our environment, our old growth forests, the flora and fauna that live there and the precious ecosystems they support.

Best regards,
Cr Samantha Dunn
Deputy Mayor
Shire of Yarra Ranges



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