Saturday, April 13, 2013

Has Kimberley environment dodged a bullet? | Herald Sun

Has Kimberley environment dodged a bullet? | Herald Sun: ONE thing the Browse gas project has inadvertently brought about, without even getting off the ground, is a greater understanding of the Kimberley region's environmental significance.
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Initially, it was only a handful of locals and greenies who opposed the project, some 60km north of Broome in Western Australia's far north.

Before too long, however, the threat of industrialising the unique coastline - just like the Pilbara to the south - became big news.

Photo Damian Kelly. Tim Flannery, Richard Hunter and Steve Salisbury Dinosaur Tracking
Leading palaeontologist, the University of Queensland's Steve Salisbury, feared that near-shore geotechnical surveys being undertaken by Woodside for the project could encroach on nearby dinosaur tracks.
Most were exposed only at extreme low tide in the intertidal zone that marks the boundary of the West Kimberley National Heritage site.

While Woodside claimed it would be able to work around the tracks without damaging them, it would have been tricky work, given all the marine pile-driving and dredging that would have been involved.
WA's environmental watchdog, in granting approval for Browse last year, warned that turbidity from dredging, oil spills, industrial discharges, noise, light and vessel strikes could adversely affect whales, dolphins, turtles, dugong and fish.

There were also concerns about surrounding monsoon vine thicket vegetation.

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