Greenpeace warns river communities: you won’t know when your river’s poisoned

Press release - 21 November, 2012
22 November 2012: Greenpeace has released graphic new photographs of polluted floodwater in BHP Billiton mines in the Bowen Basin with a warning to communities along the Isaac River they will not be aware of contamination caused by mining companies this summer until after it has occurred.

Late last week, the Queensland Government amended Environmental Authorities for four mines on the Isaac River (a tributary of the Fitzroy River), owned by the BHP-Mitsubishi Alliance. The amendments make it legally easier for BHP to pollute creeks that flow into the Isaac. Local communities may now not be aware of mining companies dumping heavily polluted water in their creeks until it is too late.
“The Queensland Government is effectively giving BHP Billiton a licence to pollute”, said Georgina Woods, Greenpeace Climate Campaigner. “But that’s not the worst of it. In addition to the changes already made for these four mines, the Government is rushing new legislation through parliament to create a new mechanism to secretively lift pollution controls overnight for coal mines in Queensland rivers.”
“Giving coal companies’ permission to pollute waterways that provide water for stock, irrigation and human consumption is irresponsible,” continued Woods. “Failing to even provide a notification to local communities for when this pollution will occur is just contemptuous. “
“What will happen if these new laws go through? By loosening pollution restrictions, the Newman Government is saying to Rockhampton and all the communities downstream from coal: get used to the taste of mine water”, concluded Woods.
New photographs of the extent of floodwater in the four mines for which pollution regulations have been relaxed are now available.
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For further comment contact
Georgina Woods: 0437 405 932
Julie Macken: 0400 925 217