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Halt the Salt

Newsletter #2
14 February 2007



The Halt the Salt campaign to stop the world's largest salt mine from being built on the sensitive eastern edge of the Exmouth Gulf continues to attract widespread support.

There have been two major developments in the campaign since our last newsletter.

Government authorities examining the proposal have now agreed to extend the public comment period by a further two weeks until March 12.

The Alliance also organised a successful public forum at which leading scientists expressed grave concerns at the proponents’ environmental management plans.

Scientific community calls for cautious approach and further research

Leading experts in wetland systems, hydrology, prawn fisheries, marine ornithology, humpback whale migration and dugong behaviour addressed a public forum held in Perth on February 5.

Several presenters said the current research into the proposal for a salt mine was inadequate and required further detailed review of the scientific modelling and risk assumptions used.

Wetlands expert Dr Vic Semeniuk, environmental hydrogeologist Dr Colin Walker, former Department of Fisheries research director Dr Jim Penn and marine ornithologist Dr Nic Dunlop detailed significant risks to the sensitive environment and the failure of the current proposal to adequately address these risks.

They argued the proponents did not have a full understanding of the Exmouth Gulf environment, had failed to address basic questions and were unaware of the impact they could make.

Humpback whale migration expert Mr Curt Jenner and Department of Environment and Conservation dugong researcher Dr Bob Prince outlined the importance of the area to marine mammals and further research required to properly understand how a salt mine operation could impact on these populations.

Forum presentations support Alliance concerns

The Halt the Salt Alliance has repeated its call for the proposal to be scrapped after scientific experts at the February public forum backed its concerns.

Alliance spokesman Chris Tallentire said the views expressed publicly by internationally-recognised experts were a clear demonstration that the Alliance is not alone in its concerns and Straits is risking damage to an environment that it knows little about.

“Speakers at the forum were asked to provide their own independent opinions based solely on their expert backgrounds and credentials in critical areas of this proposal – their criticism and words of warning were a huge wake-up call for the proponent and the government,” Mr Tallentire said.

Public pressure causes comment deadline to be extended

The Western Australian Environmental Protection Authority and Straits Resources have bowed to public pressure and extended the period of community consultation for a further two weeks until March 12.

This decision was a clear acknowledgement that the community does have major, legitimate concerns and they must be properly and fully addressed.

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

What you can do to support the campaign

Growing numbers of people from Australia and overseas, determined to help protect this unique environment, are making their views known to the Western Australian Government via the pro-forma submission.

Personalised letters, faxes or phone calls to politicians are also very important and the Alliance website has a full list of contact details.

Another good way of putting your views across is to write a Letter to the Editor and again the Alliance has details of how to make contact with the State’s major newspapers or you can spread the word via your own local community newspaper

If you haven’t seen a campaign information brochure you can download a copy from this site or contact one of the Alliance affiliated bodies.

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

Email your friends and associates asking them to participate.

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WEBSITE www.conservationwa.asn.au E-MAIL: [email protected] 
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