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
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
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
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
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
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
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.