Building a world of
resilient communities.

MAIN LIST

 

Australia encourages barrier reef oil exploration

Australia has increased tax concessions to encourage oil exploration in the far reaches of the Great Barrier Reef, angering environmentalists who warn an oil spill could destroy the world's largest living reef system.

The Australian government says the new concessions are needed to encourage oil companies to explore remote sections of the reef if Australia is to secure future energy supplies.

"If there was a bad accident or a spill we'd have a massive oil spill washing up on the outer barrier reef within no time at all," Don Henry, executive director of the Australian Conservation Foundation, said on Wednesday.

"In our point of view, that's just totally unacceptable and the government should not be encouraging exploration."

The world-heritage listed Great Barrier Reef stretches 2,000 km (1,300 miles) north to south along Australia's northeast coast and attracts nearly two million tourists a year.

Environmental groups warn an oil spill on the reef, unlike the Exxon Valdez leak in Alaska in 1989, could not be cleaned up or washed away because the oil would permeate the living coral.

"It's not like rocks. You can't walk around on it and sponge it up and soak it up. Once it's into that porous structure, that reef will be contaminated for decades." said James McLellan, coordinator for the Northern Queensland Conservation Council.

Prime Minister John Howard last week released a major energy policy, "Securing Australia's Energy Future", which identified four oil basins on the outer edge of the reef for exploration.

"Encouraging further exploration in these areas is in Australia's interest and is a high priority for government," the report said.

The change hikes the tax concessions to 150 percent from 100 percent.

"Let me make it quite clear to exploration companies and the Australian community that the government will not allow any field development that would impact on the reef systems off the Queensland coast," said Peter Lindsay, a minister for parliament whose electorate borders the reef.

Australia's current offshore oil production is centred off its southern and northwest coasts, but the Great Barrier Reef has long been identified as potentially holding vast reserves of oil.

Previous administrations have discouraged oil exploration near the reef for fear of an ecological disaster. Oil companies, for their part, have been reluctant to explore because of the technical challenges of drilling in the region's deep water.

In 2001, Norwegian company TGS Nopek abandoned plans to drill on the Townsville trough amidst protests from environmental groups and smaller political parties.

What do you think? Leave a comment below.

Sign up for regular Resilience bulletins direct to your email.

Take action!  

Find out more about Community Resilience. See our COMMUNITIES page
Start your own projects. See our RESOURCES page.
Help build resilience. DONATE NOW.

 

This is a community site and the discussion is moderated. The rules in brief: no personal abuse and no climate denial. Complete Guidelines.

Tags:  

South Australia’s Electricity Price Woes are more Due to Gas than Wind

The past few weeks have seen extraordinarily high wholesale electricity …

Former Inspectors Describe Dangerous Flaws in Construction of Major East Coast Gas Pipeline

In April, a massive explosion ripped through rural Salem Township, …

Northwest Tribes Band Together to Stop Oil-by-Rail

There’s no such thing as a good place for an oil-train derailment, but …

The Role of Development Banks in Energy Transition  

Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs) like the World Bank, the African …

Peak Oil Review - July 18 2016

 A weekly roundup of peak oil news, including: -Oil and the global …

M. King Hubbert and the future of peak oil

A new biography reveals the man most associated with the idea of peak oil to …

Hooked! The Unyielding Grip of Fossil Fuels on Global Life

Here’s the good news: wind power, solar power, and other renewable …