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Halt the Salt

Newsletter #1
12 January 2007



This is the first in a series of e-newsletters the Halt the Salt Alliance will be providing during the course of our campaign to stop the world's largest salt mine from being built on the sensitive eastern edge of the Exmouth Gulf.

The aim of the e-newsletter is to provide you with up-to-date information on the state of the campaign, our ongoing efforts to raise public awareness, the organisation of coming events and other items of interest.

We hope you will find this e-newsletter informative and it will spark your interest to visit the full campaign website, provide your own input and ideas and find out how you can get involved in the campaign.

Scientific community examining ERMP in detail

There is great concern within the scientific community with regard to the various proposals contained in Straits Resources' Environmental Review Management Plan (ERMP).

Many individuals, research bodies, educational institutions and commercial ventures have close associations with the region and have worked in and studied this unique marine environment for many years.

They have extensive understanding of how the environment works and the eco-system altering ramifications that such a massive project would have for the area.

The Alliance anticipates a range of high quality submissions which will point to the great inadequacies of Strait's proposals and commitments.

It is equally important that scientific arguments are supported by the concerns of members of other community groups and the general public who live or visit the region, have an affinity with it or simply care about the environment we will be leaving future generations.

We have made this easy for you by providing a pro-forma submission to which we encourage you to add your own comments. 

Strong media interest in Alliance message

You may have read, heard or seen recent media reports covering the Halt the Salt Alliance's initial response to Straits ERMP.

The Alliance initiated an article in The West Australian which was featured prominently in the December 27 edition and then held a media conference on January 2 which was attended by all Perth television stations and GWN Television and covered by radio stations ABC and 6PR.

Media who attended were generally aware of the Alliance's concerns at the massive scale of the proposed mine but also came away with a much greater understanding of the unique environmental sensitivity of the area.

The Alliance will be ensuring media are kept aware of developments in our response to the ERMP during the course of the public comment period.

Campaign brochure now available

At the January 2 media conference the Halt the Salt Alliance took the opportunity to launch its new information brochure which is now being distributed widely throughout the State. 

The 4-page brochure features a striking image on the front of floodwaters from Cyclone Bobby in 1995 which clearly illustrates that the eastern side of the Gulf is one delta system that relies on these heavy rainfall events for vital nutrient flow.

The failure to understand and acknowledge the linkage between its project footprint and the natural nutrient system recharging the Gulf is one of the fatal flaws in Straits' plans.

The brochure explains how the productivity of the Gulf is achieved, what the impact of the massive project would be on the marine environment and how you can become involved in the campaign.

The brochure can be viewed or downloaded or you will be able to pick up a copy at many locations around the State or through any of the Alliance's affiliated bodies.

Alliance receives national backing

Since releasing its ERMP for public comment, Straits Resources has tried to downgrade the importance of the Halt the Salt Alliance in the eyes of the media and public. This tactic has not worked.

Straits has told the media that the Alliance consists of just three groups - this is totally incorrect and misleading.

The Alliance comprises more than 100 environmental, recreational fishing and commercial fishing organisations that have all pledged their support to the campaign through their peak organisations.

The Conservation Council of Western Australia alone has more than 60 affiliated member groups around the State supporting the campaign.

The Alliance is also backed by national bodies, the Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF), Recfish Australia and the Australian Council of Prawn Fisheries.

You can find out more about the extensive support for the campaign by visiting the About Us and Links sections on the website. 

EPA yet to respond to requests for more time

The Alliance has expressed its concerns to the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) over the badly inadequate consultation period for comment on Straits' proposal.

The EPA allowed the ERMP to be released by Straits over the Christmas/New Year period and to delay putting out key materials about flora and vegetation, subterranean fauna and sub-tidal benthic communities, to an unspecified date in the first half of 2007.

Splitting the ERMP consultation process and allowing for release of the main document over the holiday period is of critical concern. The Campaign has written to the EPA and the Minister for the Environment in very strong terms in this matter and is awaiting a response. 


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WEBSITE www.conservationwa.asn.au E-MAIL: [email protected] 
ABN 35 982 476 107




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