Following up on my article regarding the ‘Unforeseen Danger to the Reef‘ [said with all due sarcasm] due to the possible dangers of the toxic nickel waste overflowing into the reef it is my sad duty to inform you that it may already be too late. The stretch of the Queensland Coast around Townsville received between 200 mm and 300 mm of rain in the past week, according to the Bureau of Meteorology.
More importantly we have been informed, courtesy of the report Mr Powell [Qld’s environmental minister] gave to the press yesterday that:
We were advised yesterday that the tailings dam is at full capacity,and with the wind and wave action that is generated, there may have been that it has over-topped.
The very fact that they Queensland government appears to be taking this seriously and is in a way distancing itself from the potential debacle shows that the situation may be even graver than we think. This government has been a staunch supporter of Abbott’s campaign to allow dredging and dumping in the reef using the argument that as it is the size of the UK and Ireland combined just using part of it shouldn’t be an issue.
This of course completely ignores the fact that it is IN THE FREAKIN WATER and as such contaminants spread at a rate that would be almost unstoppable and it is not something that can be partitioned – unlike the minds of some of this countries representatives.
A spokesman for Mr Palmer who is the CEO of Queensland Nickel [and a member of parliament] said
there were “other facilities” where material in the tailings dam “could be pumped to….He said the dam’s capacity had been increased since February and as of yesterday, there was nothing leaking.
My question in response to that very carefully worded statement is how about BEFORE yesterday. Had anything leaked prior to this and what is being done to ameliorate the effect of the very toxic nature of the waste and its impact on the Reef. Mr Palmer’s company was warned early this year and we have recently been informed by Mr Powell that they were told they would face a one point one million dollar fine should they fail to address the safety issues raised in February.
While I appreciate the concept of the fine I would like to point out that to a company such as this it is really the equivalent of a parking ticket and not something that they would take seriously. There are no strictures in place that makes them legally responsible for the damage that could be caused or the clean that may be needed and in that I see a terrible lack of foresight or just plain corruption at the time the permits were issued.
Once again I would ask that you share this with others so that more and more people are aware of the need to put a halt to this blatant disregard for one the Great Natural Wonders of the World before it is too late.