17 February 2010
CAMPAIGN VICTORY - SALT PROJECT WITHDRAWN
The Western Australian Government's environmental watchdog has confirmed that plans to develop a solar salt project on the eastern side of Exmouth Gulf have been withdrawn by the proponent.
In a statement to the Halt the Salt Alliance, the Environmental Protection Authority has confirmed "...that the assessment of this proposal has now been terminated."
This is a fantastic result for the environment and for the thousands of people who helped us campaign for the past four years against this project.
Commonsense has finally prevailed on an ill-conceived proposal that was not supported by scientific experts who had repeatedly warned of the irreversible damage that it could cause to the ecosystem and marine life.
This proposal was always in the wrong location. The eastern Gulf is a pristine area that should be protected for future generations.
Whatever reason the proponent gives for withdrawing its application, the overwhelming view of the community has prevailed.
We now look to the State Government to remove the Ministerial provision currently in place reserving this area for salt production and provide permanent protection for the Yannarie Delta from mining and resource development.
The same proponent may now prepare a new application for a similar project but focussing on an existing developed area further north, possibly near Onslow.
The Alliance will maintain a watching brief on the proponent's intentions as well as holding discussions with our member groups to determine the community's future wishes for this area.
Campaign a long and massive effort
The Yannarie Solar Salt Project was first mooted in August 2003 but it was not until late 2006 that the proponent's plans were finally presented to the wider community for comment and immediately attracted widespread concern.
The Halt the Salt Alliance, led by the Conservation Council of Western Australia, Recfishwest and the MG Kailis Group, officially launched in October 2006, joining forces for the first time in a unique alliance of peak environmental and fishing interests to stop the project. The Cape Conservation Group, based in Exmouth, co-ordinated the strong local campaign.
At the height of the campaign, the Alliance comprised 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. The Alliance was also backed by national bodies, the Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF), Recfish Australia and the Australian Council of Prawn Fisheries.
A petition containing 2,087 signatures opposing the salt mine was tabled in State Parliament in 2008 and supported by 4,504 letters of concern sent to the EPA and the Premier.
The wealth of scientific opinion against the Project was eventually backed by the EPA which concluded in its July 2008 report that the project was "fundamentally in the wrong place".
Once again thank you for your support to this campaign. Remember - you have made a difference!
We will keep you informed of further developments as they occur via newsletter and through the website www.haltthesalt.org.au