20 Oct 2008 @ 8:56 PM 
 

Broadcasting from the INQUIRY in Pakenham - Day 3

 
 

Danny has to first apologise for the delay in getting DAY 3 out to everyone as it is an exhausting process that I’m sure is designed to simply wear everyone down so they give up in complete desperation and there’s still 12 days to go with the most excruciating day to come. That is, 4 hours of “closing comments” by the Government as proponent on the final day. Yes, that’s right the Government gets a final 4 hours to respond to all the issues raised that might be causing problems with the Panel just to ensure they are left in the right frame of mind!
 
Anyway DAY 3 was a scientists heaven with presentations from Dr. Scott Chidgey / Marine Biologist who further expounded the work from Dr. Kerry Black re the mixing and flushing of Bass Strait as if it is an open ocean environment. Followed by Ian Smales from our ever present consultants BIOSIS Research on Flora & Fauna, marine mammals, birds and reptiles and then importantly by Dr. Michael St John Warne on the toxicity impacts of the discharges from the plant. I’ll also add here that if I have to see the one minute underwater video of just how so much is growing on the intake/outake pipes in WA I think I’ll scream! Enough already of the propoganda videos that show an environment that is absolutely nothing like Bass Strait!
 
Now I’m no scientist but the most telling question was from a member of the community at the very end of the day to Dr Warne as to whether or not they evaluated the impact of the exact chemical mix that this plant will use and, big surprise, NO as they don’t actually know that list as yet since it’s a PPP!  The same recurring theme that has plagued the Inquiry from day 1.
 
Dr Chidgey listed their prioritisation for site selection and it was:
  • mobile sand or mobile gravel
  • sand
  • scoured reef & rubble
  • lower relief reefs
  • extensive, high relief or complex reefs; and
  • substantial seagrass meadows.
When asked where the Wonthaggi site was situated in this list of priorities he clearly responded that it was in the range between “scoured reef & rubble and lower relief reefs”.  Well doesn’t that mean it isn’t in their ideal location as it’s between third and fourth ideal location! He also clearly stated that there “could be impacts on the reef” and he doesn’t necessarily mean the creation of ‘dead zones’ but rather that there will be changes in the community structure. He, like Dr Black repeated how important the diffusers were to minimise impacts so this continues to be a crucial part of their argument.  In case you didn’t know it they are defining the “mixing zone” initially as an area of 700mL x 500mW x 200m inshore from the discharge point but this is still up for further analysis and examination.
 
There appeared some confusion as to the exact location of the intake/outake pipes as questioned by the Inquiry and that they couldn’t precisely tell from various references in the multitude of reports! Good sign that they are watching carefully perhaps?
 
Couple of items I’m going to have to spend some spare time looking for - what recommendations have the consultants made in their reports that the Performance Requirements might not have picked up on?????? Any help appreciated as the Inquiry seems keen to identify them and we can help?
 
Well Day 4 (Tuesday 21/Oct) is looking to be heavily focused on the power issues with a new witness being requested by the Inquiry - Mr Neville Henderson - now appearing first to I think talk in a more general sense about the power connection issues and Stephen Boyle who was to talk about the EMF issues to come later. No doubt the Councils all worried more about how the power looks across their Shire than the big issue - that is, if there’s no plant there’s no power! DUH !
 
Here comes another long week but will try to keep you informed each day and hopefully not toooooo boring!
 

 

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Categories: EES panel hearing reports
Posted By: Danny Desal
Last Edit: 20 Oct 2008 @ 08 59 PM

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