Saturday, March 23, 2013

Woodside planning drilling in Endangered Ecological Community Monsoonal Vine Thicket

Woodside have all intentions of not only cutting several illegal  8 meters tracks through the Federally listed Endangered Ecological Community Monsoonal Vine Thicket but are also planning to drill within the Thicket itself. Refer to Map

Everyone, especially Woodside and the police need to clearly understand that the Monsoonal Vine Thickets are present within the proposed drilling program. The drilling program will have a major impact on matter of national significance under the EPBC Act and these needs to be referred to the Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities (SEWPaC).

In addition to this, under state legislation the clearing of native vegetation is prohibited except where a clearing permit has been granted.  In the Woodside’s Development Assessment Panel approval clearly states that the proponent has been advised that they will require a permit to undertake the proposed activities to the west of Manari Road.


  1. Where China is heading with pollution levels - UP.

    What is the point of all this progress if people cant breathe the air?


    As Pollution Worsens in China, Solutions Succumb to Infighting

    BEIJING — China’s state leadership transition has taken place this month against an ominous backdrop. More than 16,000 dead pigs have been found floating in rivers that provide drinking water to Shanghai. A haze akin to volcanic fumes cloaked the capital, causing convulsive coughing and obscuring the portrait of Mao Zedong on the gate to the Forbidden City.

    So severe are China’s environmental woes, especially the noxious air, that top government officials have been forced to openly acknowledge them. Fu Ying, the spokeswoman for the National People’s Congress, said she checked for smog every morning after opening her curtains and kept at home face masks for her daughter and herself. Li Keqiang, the new prime minister, said the air pollution had made him “quite upset” and vowed to “show even greater resolve and make more vigorous efforts” to clean it up.

    What the leaders neglect to say is that infighting within the government bureaucracy is one of the biggest obstacles to enacting stronger environmental policies. Even as some officials push for tighter restrictions on pollutants, state-owned enterprises — especially China’s oil and power companies — have been putting profits ahead of health in working to outflank new rules, according to government data and interviews with people involved in policy negotiations.

    For instance, even though trucks and buses crisscrossing China are far worse for the environment than any other vehicles, the oil companies have delayed for years an improvement in the diesel fuel those vehicles burn. As a result, the sulfur levels of diesel in China are at least 23 times that of the United States. As for power companies, the three biggest ones in the country are all repeat violators of government restrictions on emissions from coal-burning plants; offending power plants are found across the country, from Inner Mongolia to the southwest metropolis of Chongqing.


    “During the procedure of setting the standard, the companies or the industry councils have a lot of influence,” said Zhou Rong, a campaign manager on energy issues for Greenpeace East Asia. “My personal opinion is even if we have the most stringent standards for every sector, the companies will violate those.”

    On Feb. 28, Deutsche Bank released an analysts’ note saying that China’s current economic policies would result in an enormous surge in coal consumption and automobile sales over the next decade. “China’s air pollution will become a lot worse from the already unbearable level,” the analysts said, calling for drastic policy changes and “a strong government will to overcome the opposition from interest groups.”

    The report estimated that the number of passenger cars in China was on track to hit 400 million by 2030, up from 90 million now.


  2. cont....

    The Ministry of Environmental Protection is the main government advocate for both higher fuel standards and better automobile technology. It has the power to force automakers to use new technology by issuing stricter tailpipe emissions standards, but it cannot unilaterally impose new fuel standards or enforce compliance from the oil companies. Instead, it can merely lobby other relevant ministries or agencies to take action.

    When fuel standards do not keep pace with vehicle technology, the environmental ministry has to delay issuing new tailpipe emissions standards, and so cars do not get upgraded.

    Fuel standards are issued by the Standardization Administration of China, which convenes a committee and a subcommittee to research standards.

    They each have 30 to 40 members, almost all of whom are from oil companies, said Yue Xin, a scientist who sits on one of the groups on behalf of the Ministry of Environmental Protection.

    The members from the oil companies “will represent more of the company’s interests,” Mr. Yue said. Sinopec and PetroChina, two of the biggest oil companies, have insisted that consumers or the government pay to upgrade their refineries to produce cleaner fuel, and they have delayed approving higher standards unless there is consensus on who pays.


    Another big concern lies in the debate over the cleaner China V gasoline standard, which the State Council said must be issued by December and phased in by the end of 2017. In the committee debates, Sinopec argues that it is expensive to meet the requirements for sulfur levels.

    Oil company representatives did not reply to requests for comment. In public, oil company executives are trying to shift the blame. Mr. Fu told reporters this month that “in fact the biggest killer is coal.”

    Beijing officials have said that vehicle emissions account for 22 percent of the main deadly particulate matter in the air, known as PM 2.5, and another 40 percent is from coal-fired factories in Beijing and nearby provinces.

    In February, the Ministry of Environmental Protection issued stricter factory emissions standards for six coal-burning industries. First on the list is the power industry, which accounts for about half the coal consumption in China.

    But compliance by the state-owned enterprises could be a problem. The environmental ministry publishes annual lists of factories that have violated emissions regulations. A review shows that the factories are all run by the biggest power companies.

    The annual lists represent only a fraction of the plants in violation, since installation by the factories of monitoring equipment is spotty, and the equipment readings can be manipulated, said Kevin Jianjun Tu, an energy scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

    Another problem is the low penalties: fines are generally capped around $16,000, not much of a deterrent, said Ms. Zhou, the Greenpeace representative. She said the violating factories “should be required to stop production temporarily — that would then force companies to take this seriously.”

  3. Gas wars.Cyprus has the debt - and the gas.

    Tug of war on the fault lines.

    How will Woodside end up in all of this?


    Russian Ties Put Cyprus Banking Crisis on East-West Fault Line

    LIMASSOL, Cyprus — Andreas Marangos, a Porsche-driving lawyer here, had just woken up when he heard the news that threatened to destroy his and Cyprus’s most lucrative business: setting up shell companies and providing financial services for wealthy Russians.

    He rushed to his computer to check whether the “crazy talk” he had just heard was true — that his government had agreed last week to effectively confiscate 9.9 percent of the wealth of anyone holding more than 100,000 euros, about $129,000, in a Cyprus bank.

    A week later, this Mediterranean island nation is still trying to figure out how to raise the $7.5 billion European lenders say it must have by Monday in return for a bailout. Late Saturday, the tentative plan was to seize a portion of all deposits above 100,000 euros, with the bite set at 20 percent for those banking with Cyprus’s biggest bank.

    For Mr. Marangos, either plan is bad news.

    “Since last Saturday, we are just answering calls from angry clients,” said the lawyer, whose firm has helped Russians and Ukrainians set up 6,000 companies in Cyprus so that they can avoid taxes, benefit from a sound legal system and, they hoped, keep their money safe. Cyprus still offers those draws, he insisted, but his clients “thought we had betrayed them.”


    “There is a geopolitical game going on behind all this,” Mr. Marangos said.

    With just 860,000 people and a gross domestic product of only $23 billion, the Republic of Cyprus makes an unlikely strategic prize. But it sits atop a web of overlapping and potentially volatile fault lines — between East and West, the European Union and Russia, and Greece and Turkey, whose troops occupy the northern part of the island.


    It also has natural gas in the waters off its coast toward Israel. Nobody knows for sure yet how much — that may become clearer later this year when Houston-based Noble Energy carries out a new round of exploratory drilling.

    But just the possibility of significant reserves has raised hope in Brussels, and fear in Moscow, that Cyprus could help break the European Union’s dependence on Russian-supplied gas.

    “There is a clear danger of this area becoming a platform for confrontation between East and West,” said Harry Tzimitras, director of PRIO Cyprus Centre, a research center in the capital, Nicosia.

    Cyprus has until now frozen out Russian interests from offshore gas concessions, snubbing a low bid by Novatek, a Russian company whose directors include Gennady Timchenko, a wealthy oil trader and judo club acquaintance of President Vladimir V. Putin’s. In talks last week in Moscow over a possible loan to Cyprus, Russia made clear that it expected a piece of the gas pie for its own companies, according to Cypriot officials and politicians.


  4. cont....

    In Russia’s view, Cyprus, which already has two British military bases, a legacy of the country’s colonial past, would also be an ideal place to set up a small naval installation should the Kremlin lose access to Tartus, a Syrian port that risks being swamped by that nation’s civil war.

    The Moscow talks yielded no deal and dashed hopes that Russia might ride to the rescue. But many Cypriots still view Russia as a useful counterweight to bullying by Brussels. “We are not a Trojan horse for Russia in Europe, but we are trying to protect our interests like everyone does,” said Petros Zarounas, a diplomatic adviser to the Democratic Party, part of the governing coalition.

    According to a recent opinion poll by Cyprus’s Sigma television, the public mood has turned decisively against Europe and toward Russia. More than two-thirds of those surveyed agreed that Cyprus should drop the euro and move closer to Russia because of the “behavior of our European partners.” Protesters outside Parliament last week waved banners cursing the European Union and Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany.

    With Cyprus’s banks closed for more than a week now, fear-driven rumors of secret deals and big power politics have become the main coin of the realm.


    As a team of European Union experts set up camp in Nicosia to try to figure out how to resuscitate the bailout package announced in Brussels on March 16 and declared dead on arrival by the Cypriot Parliament, a Russian-language radio station here led its news bulletins with reports of a “direct strike against Russia’s position” in the Mediterranean by Secretary of State John Kerry.

    The report, on Russian Wave radio, said that Mr. Kerry had telephoned Cyprus’s finance minister and told him Washington was ready to help out, as long as Cyprus guaranteed a bigger role for the United States in GAS concessions and raised the levy on large foreign depositors, many of them Russians, to 15 percent.

    American officials said they knew of no such call by Mr. Kerry, and the radio station’s news anchor, Nedezhda Braun, acknowledged that her report might not be true. No matter, she said. Russians here were desperate for information about a crisis that has hit their community hard.


    “We are not criminals, arms dealers or bootleggers,” said Sergey Ivanov, a Russian who runs a wine business here. “There is a generation of Russian businessmen like me who have lost faith in the Russian government, in Russian banks and in Russian laws. That is why we are in Cyprus.” He said he was now wondering whether he should go home.


    Others have already decided to call it quits, including Alexey Voloboev, who owns Russian Wave radio as well as a Russian restaurant and stakes in other Cypriot businesses. He is so angry with the proposed confiscation of depositors’ money and the damage this threat has done to business confidence that he now wants to sell and move to London.

    “I knew it would be bad, but never expected it to be this bad,” he said. “I thought banks might go bankrupt, but not the whole country.”


    “This is all a dirty game to create a banking collapse,” fumed Yuri Pianykh of the Russian business association — aimed, he contends, at luring Russian money out of Cyprus to other European countries. He insisted the country had better safeguards to combat money laundering than many other European states and had been the victim of a German smear campaign.

    1. Turkey has reacted strongly against a possible Greek Cypriot plan to use oil and gas exploration rights around the eastern Mediterranean island as collateral for an international bailout package it desperately needs to protect its economy from going bankrupt.

      The Turkish Foreign Ministry warned that the Greek Cypriot plan would risk a fresh crisis in the region, saying such a move would ignore the Turkish Cypriots’ equal rights to the hydrocarbon resources of the island, in a statement on March 23.

      “Possible plans to put the island’s joint resources as collateral for ‘a solidarity fund’ or any other loan agreement is just another reflection of the Greek Cypriot illusion that it is the sole owner of the entire island and it risks a fresh crisis in the region,” the statement said.

      The statement also said Turkey would continue to protect the country’s and the Turkish Cypriot interests and rights in the Mediterranean and based on this understanding, Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots were ready to work with Greece and the Greek Cypriots.

      In the statement Turkey urged Greek Cyprus to consider an immediate solution to the issue, saying it could be “establishing a new partnership – of which the parameters are well known – or the negotiation of a two state solution.

      “The only way to exploit the natural resources flows through an agreement under the auspices of the U.N. secretary-general and thus by getting the clear consent of the Turkish Cypriot side,” it said.

      In a phone conversation on March 23 with his U.S. counterpart, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu also conveyed Turkey’s objections to the Greek Cypriot plan. “Turkey will not accept the Greek Cypriot administration’s use of its economic dire straits as an excuse for ‘a fait-accompli.’”

  5. First stop Russia.
    2nd stop Tanzania.

    China president in Tanzania on start of African tour

    DAR ES SALAAM (AFP) - China's new President Xi Jinping jetted into Tanzania Sunday on the first stop of his three-nation Africa tour that underscores Beijing's growing presence in the resource-rich continent.

    Xi flew into the east African nation's economic capital Dar es Salaam from Moscow, the opening stage of his first foreign trip since being anointed president 10 days ago.

    The Chinese president and his Tanzanian counterpart Jakaya Kikwete on Sunday signed 16 different trade, cultural and development accords that included improvements to Tanzania's hospitals and ports, and the building of a Chinese cultural centre in Tanzania.

    Xi is set to give a keynote speech on Monday covering relations with Africa before heading to Durban in South Africa to join an emerging economies summit.

    He wraps up the African tour with a visit to Congo-Brazzaville.

    "China-Africa cooperation is comprehensive," Xi said ahead of the trip, adding that Beijing valued "friendly relationships with all African countries, no matter whether they are big or small, strong or weak, rich or poor".

    "No matter whether it is rich or poor in resources, China treats it equally and actively carries out pragmatic cooperation that benefits both sides," he said.

    China is the second-largest foreign investor in Tanzania, with stakes in agriculture, coal, iron ore and infrastructure, and Xi will be keen "to showcase that China's approach to Africa is different from the West," said China expert Jonathan Holslag, head of research at the Brussels Institute of Contemporary China Studies.

    "Tanzania offers Xi an important opportunity to highlight the historical dimension of the Sino-African relations. Today, China is reviving this partnership with Tanzania by investing heavily in its infrastructure", such as railways that could provide a vital link to Chinese-run mines in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Holslag said.


    Gray tipped for resources ministry

    Special Minister of State and key WA MP Gary Gray is likely to be promoted into Cabinet as Julia Gillard seeks to rebuild her battered Government in the run-up to the election in September.

    Mr Gray, who has had carriage of key electoral reforms, is considered the frontrunner to replace Kevin Rudd supporter Martin Ferguson in the resources portfolio.

    Mr Ferguson was one of three Cabinet ministers to resign after last week's aborted leadership challenge.

    He was widely respected by the resources sector.

    Mr Gray, a former Woodside executive, is also highly regarded within the energy sector because of his non-parliamentary background.

    Promoting Mr Gray would fill one of several positions left vacant by the departures of Mr Ferguson, regional affairs minister Simon Crean, tertiary education minister Chris Bowen and human services minister Kim Carr.

    The new Cabinet is expected to be announced today.


  6. Mining boasts fewer jobs than transport

    More jobs are being created in the transport and postal sector than in mining, figures reveal.

    The statistics come as the Reserve Bank conceded last week that some parts of the economy had failed to benefit from the resources boom.

    Australian Bureau of Statistics data shows that mining employment in WA and across the nation peaked almost a year ago.

    There are now 110,500 people employed directly in the State's mining sector, an increase of 1400 over the previous three months.

    Total mining job numbers across WA peaked at 116,700 mid-last year. Since then, and despite the February quarter increase, they have edged down by more than 6000.

    But the transport, postal and warehousing sector - which is benefiting from the lift in online retailing - is booming.

    The number of people working in the sector has grown almost 14 per cent in the past year across WA to 69,100.

    Nationally, there are now more than 600,000 workers in transport and postal, a 55,000 lift in the past nine months.

    The figures also show that the manufacturing sector is struggling because of the strong dollar.
    The WA manufacturing sector shed almost 6000 jobs in the three months to the end of February, falling below 90,000 for the first time in two years.