Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Legal challenge over LNG funding launched in US

The following article was published recently in The Great Barrier Reef Blog. Anyone who thinks the Gladstone developments are of local interest only is deluded at best. UNESCO is also being kept informed of events unfolding, including the damning reports by aquatic disease expert Dr Matt Landos who points to the massive dredging project associated with the developments as the most likely cause of the continuing diseases affecting marine life :
Lawsuit Launched Against Multi-billion-dollar U.S. Subsidy of Fossil Fuel Projects in
Australia‘s Great Barrier Reef
Facilities Would Threaten Sea Turtles, Other Endangered Species
Sarah Uhlemann, Center for Biological Diversity, (206) 327-2344
Doug NorlenPacific Environment, (202) 465-1650
Teri ShoreTurtle Island Restoration Network, (707) 934-7081
SAN FRANCISCO— Three conservation groups initiated a legal challenge today to the U.S. Export-Import Bank’s nearly $3 billion in financing for two massive fossil-fuel facilities in Australia’sGreat Barrier Reef. Construction and operation of the liquefied natural gas (LNG) facilities will threaten dugongs, sea turtles, saltwater crocodiles and numerous other protected marine species within the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area..
“The U.S. really shouldn’t be subsidizing new fossil fuel projects anywhere on the planet, but for the Obama administration to fund a project that will despoil a fantastic World Heritage Area like theGreat Barrier Reef is unforgivable,” said Sarah Uhlemann, an attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity. “Dirty fossil fuel projects don’t belong in this world-famous marine sanctuary.”
The Export-Import Bank, a federal agency that funds international projects to promote U.S. exports, is currently approving financing — including direct loans — for the two LNG projects in Queensland, northeast Australia. The Australia Pacific LNG and Queensland Curtis LNG projects will involve drilling up to 16,000 gas wells in the Surat Basin, west of Brisbane, using controversial “fracking” techniques, construction of hundreds of miles of gas pipelines and two massive LNGprocessing and export facilities. The Bank is also reportedly considering financing a coal-export facility in the Great Barrier Reef as well.
“The Export-Import Bank has a sad history of funding environmental destruction around the world,” said Doug Norlen, policy director of Pacific Environment. “Ex-Im Bank should focus on renewable energy rather than projects that further the world’s addiction to fossil fuels.”
The LNG processing and export plants will be located within the boundaries of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area. The Great Barrier Reef gained World Heritage status for its remarkable natural beauty, coral reefs and rare dugong and sea turtle habitat.  UNESCO, the international body charged with overseeing implementation of the World Heritage Convention, issued a report in June expressing “extreme concern” over the LNG projects’ impacts to the reef, noting that the reef may soon be listed as “in Danger,” a designation made when activities of the host country or outside entities threaten a World Heritage Area.
The LNG projects will also affect several species protected by the U.S. Endangered Species Act, including endangered dugongs and threatened green and loggerhead sea turtles.
“Sea turtles and dugongs are already imperiled due to the fossil fuel frenzy now underway acrossAustralia,” said Teri Shore, program director of Turtle Island Restoration Network. “To allow oil companies to industrialize this critical nesting and feeding haven in the Great Barrier Reef will push these vulnerable marine animals ever closer to the brink.”
The formal notice of intent to challenge Export-Import Bank’s funding of the LNG projects asserts violations of the U.S. Endangered Species Act, National Environmental Policy Act and the National Historic Preservation Act, which implements U.S. obligations under the World Heritage Convention. The formal notice is a legal prerequisite before a case can be brought under theEndangered Species Act.


  1. The pic above is mine, taken on Wild Cattle Island. Large adult green turtle.

  2. As someone who has been working for the protection of rural landowners rights often from over zealous green groups there would no doubt be many things that i could find to disagree with those active in the three groups named above. As a believer in natural climate change but not AGW I would disagree with the emphisis placed on their belief of the evils of fossil fuels.
    But comming from the heartland of coal seam gas activity & in commication with many impacted people by this industry I will not depart from any actism for a better future for all people & industries just because those that who held different opinions in the past are now on a pararrell course to myself.
    Just because green groups have in the past & still do make alarmist exagerations about environmental problems does not mean that genunine environmental problems do not exisit.

  3. Exactly, Dale. That's what I've been saying all along but we've seen there are some who totally oppose anything that the Green groups are connected with even when there are obvious problems such as with the coal seam gas/ LNG industries and dredging with no effective environmental controls. Fish, turtles, dugong and corals are not hypochondriacs so when they are sick and dying, there is an obvious problem. I don't believe the fishermen who have presented with serious skin infections after coming into contact with the water or infected fish or toxic algae are hypochondriacs either. Or the people living in gas fields who have also experienced health issues, particularly young children.
    There are problems which need to be addressed.


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