Government funded project
threatens Great Barrier Reef
A screenshot from the promotional video for Tuesday night’s Dan Rather Reports show.
A U.S. GOVERNMENT AGENCY is spending billions of dollars in taxpayer funds on a project that threatens to cause irreversible harm to Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
This is according to one of the most trusted names in American news: former CBS News Anchorman Dan Rather reported on this scandal on his AXS-TV show Tuesday evening in a segment titled “Great Barrier Grief.”
The United Nations agency UNESCO, which is to discuss the matter shortly, says: “The Great Barrier Reef is a site of remarkable variety and beauty on the north-east coast of Australia.”
The Reef holds a special place my heart. It was the destination of my first sailing trip abroad in 2000 as skipper of a chartered yacht. Read the Adventure of a Lifetime on this blog.
In 2000, I clean the stern of Scallywag, our 41-foot Benetau chartered from Sunsail on Hamilton Island in the Great Barrier Reef. © SGE, Inc. All rights reserved.
UNESCO’s DESCRIPTION of the world’s largest living organism continues: “[The Great Barrier Reef] contains the world’s largest collection of coral reefs, with 400 types of coral, 1,500 species of fish and 4,000 types of mollusc. It also holds great scientific interest as the habitat of species such as the dugong (‘sea cow’) and the large green turtle, which are threatened with extinction.”
According to a news release from the Center for Biological Diversity, conservation groups filed a lawsuit Dec. 13 2012 challenging the U.S. Export-Import Bank’s nearly $3 billion in financing for a massive Australian fossil fuel facility in the World Heritage Area.
“Construction and operation of the liquefied natural gas facility will threaten sea turtles, dugongs and many other protected marine species, as well as the Great Barrier Reef itself,” the organization said.
“Dirty fossil fuel facilities don’t belong in a world-famous marine sanctuary like the Great Barrier Reef,” said Sarah Uhlemann, an attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity.
“This liquefied natural gas project doesn’t meet U.S. standards, and we shouldn’t be subsidizing the world’s fossil fuel dependence or the destruction of a natural wonder like the Great Barrier Reef.”
The UNESCO map of World Heritage Sites with the Great Barrier Reef highlighted.
THE EXPORT-IMPORT BANK – a federal agency that funds international projects to promote U.S. exports, and which refused on-camera comment for Rather’s show – provided a $3 billion loan in May 2012 for the project, which will be located in Queensland, northeast Australia.
“The Australia Pacific LNG project will include drilling 10,000 coal-seam gas wells in interior Queensland using controversial “fracking” techniques,” according to the non-profit environmental group the Center for Biological Diversity, “[and] digging nearly 300 miles of gas pipelines and constructing a massive natural-gas processing facility and export terminal.”
The Center is challenging the use of taxpayer money on the basis that it may violate federal law.
“The natural gas project will also harm several species protected by the U.S. Endangered Species Act, including dugongs and green and loggerhead sea turtles; it will degrade seagrass and other habitats, diminish water clarity and quality, and increase the risk of ship strikes,” the Center says.
This is what the area threatened by the LNG terminal development looks like from the air. Its beauty at this point is undeniable, but under extreme threat from development.
IN A PROMOTION FOR TUESDAY’S SHOW, Rather reports that “almost $5 billion of the financing to build two natural gas plants at the Great Barrier Reef is coming from an obscure U.S. agency that most Americans have never heard of.
“[T]here is concern that the plants are contributing to the destruction of one of the world’s natural wonders,” Rather says.
This is a story that deserves to be on page A1 of the New York Times. Tom Jolly, are you paying attention? Terry Schwadron? Please put this on the news budget.
Australians by the thousands are protesting the dangerous incursion into their most valuable treasure.
Why isn’t anybody in America paying attention – except perhaps the most courageous man in the news media business today?
Dan Rather’s show on AXS-TV is must see TV.
It’s a scandal that an agency of the United States government, using our money, is contributing to the destruction of the only living thing that can be seen from space.
We should be doing everything we can to stop it.