Great Barrier Reef saved from shale oil exploitation

Feature story - 25 August, 2008
It's a victory for the Whitsunday Islands and the Great Barrier Reef, with a 20-year moratorium on all new shale oil projects in the region. Led by the Save Our Foreshore group, the success shows just how powerful local, grassroots campaigns can be.

Aerial view of the Great Barrier Reef off the Whitsunday Islands. The proposed shale oil mine would have posed a range of threats to the region.

The ban has been welcomed by just about everyone but the QueenlandResource Council, whose proposal was set to mine millions of tonnes ofshale rock each year on a site just 10 km from the gateway to the GreatBarrier Reef. The shale oil mine threatened to drain precious watersupplies, and to risk toxic leaching and air pollution from waste rock.Shale oil production is extremely greenhouse gas intensive - emissionsfrom this project, combined with the company's other plannedoperations, would have raised Australia's current total emissions by30 percent within 20 years.

This is a great win but it is madness that such a project could haveeven been considered. We are facing catastrophic climate change - wemust urgently cut emissions, not increase them. We don't need toendanger the Great Barrier Reef or anywhere else by mining fossilfuels. There are better energy sources that are ready to go right now. If Queensland Premier Anna Bligh canblock this proposal for climate reasons, we look forward to herblocking other major fossil fuel projects in the state, includingexport coal expansions, for the same reasons.

Greenpeace joined Save Our Foreshore in their fight against the shale oil mine last month when the Esperanzasailed into Airlie Beach flanked by a flotilla of 90 local vessels aspart of its six-week energy [r]evolution tour

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