The Australian Greens today called on the Rudd Government to explain how it can announce its endorsement of a $50 Billion gas deal with China before the Gorgon project had received Commonwealth environmental approval.
"The message to us seems clear - threatened species will not be allowed to get in the way of development under Rudd, and environmental conditions are nothing more than a means of green-washing projects destined to go ahead regardless of their environmental impacts," said Senator Rachel Siewert today.
"Today, the role of the Environment Minister has been relegated to the status of a rubber stamp of approval."
"Barrow Island has been dubbed 'Australia's Ark' for its unique range of endangered species, with 24 species and sub-species preserved on the island, many of who are extinct or endangered on mainland Australia."
"Endemic species such as the Barrow Island spectacled hare-wallaby, Barrow Island golden bandicoot, Barrow Island mouse and the Barrow Island burrowing bettong will face possible extinction if proper environmental restrictions and controls are not put in place," said Senator Siewert.
"There is also the carbon footprint of this plant to consider. Gorgon's gas has a high CO2 content, meaning its emissions will be at least 5.45 million tonnes-a-year if carbon geo-sequestration can be achieved (and 8.81 million tonnes-a-year without it)."
"This is a time when we should be actively reducing emissions," concluded Senator Siewert.
The Greens are calling on the Prime Minister to explain whether he still considers that the Gorgon plant will only be able to proceed subject to environmental approval, or whether he now believes his Government should not be bound by the provisions of the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act to reject the project if it fails to secure approval.
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