Saturday, September 24, 2011

Woodside would do well to dump gas-hub hubris | The Australian

Woodside would do well to dump gas-hub hubris | The Australian

THE Australian's lead editorial of September 21 attacks activists who are opposed to the siting of Woodside's proposed gas hub at James Price Point in the Kimberley, but broadens the issue thus: "Do we seek to preserve a pristine environment and ask the 'noble savages' to choose either traditional or marginalised lives? Or do we support sensible development that can allow indigenous communities to share in the benefits of our modern economy? The answer is obvious."

Indeed it is, but not from the sophistry and innuendo in this piece. I am one of these activists, an individual, not a member of any group, green or otherwise. None of us, and there are many, has ever put the argument that this project should be completely abandoned and benefits that might flow from it taken away, from anyone. All have said that the chosen location is the wrong site and that it is possible to develop this resource in an environmentally sensitive and economically rational way.

Is this the ranting of a group of extreme, fiscally illiterate green loonies? If so, Merrill Lynch must fall into that category. It was in the business pages of this very newspaper only a few days ago that a new 44-page analysis by Merrill Lynch was reported. The Australian commented on the matter as follows: "[The] report said a quick greenfield development at James Price Point was the best option for Woodside shareholders from a net present value perspective. But other options would yield returns in the same broad range."

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