Elmer Fudd vs Bugs Bunny cartoons are classics, though probably shouldn’t be played out when discussing real world issues!
Before the Bugs Bunny environmentalists sabotage my gun and tie the barrels up in bows, I agree that the Caley Valley wetlands are important and should be kept or at least maintained sufficiently for the bird-life and ‘aesthetically pleasing’ biodiversity. But this won’t stop me criticising the extremist hysteria by the people with greenie dysfunction. It is unfortunate that they feel they must scream incoherently to get their voices heard. The media and the public are to blame as well; don’t get me wrong. The public won’t care enough unless we can be dished the good fluffy bunny with lip vs the evil shooter with a speech impediment narrative that we adore so much.
I’ve done about 7 years work on the Abbot Point Coal Terminal and no one I’ve met wants to destroy the wetlands. Everyone who has been there can see for themselves that the birds love it. It is possible of course that there may be unintended consequences. Any development to the terminal could affect the birds. But the feathered animals from the Aves class are actually quite resilient. The terminal let’s say may have discharged material they shouldn’t have I understand in the past and the birds survived. The terminal plus the Blowin’ Bowen breeze showers the wetlands in coal dust and has been doing this for over 30 years now. The noise from the conveyors and trains kind of kills the ‘nature vibes’ for us humans, but has not discouraged the birds.
The Caley Valley wetlands are seasonal wetlands. In dry spells, they greatly shrink, and I understand that this is the area that was ‘enhanced’ for the old duck shooters. So the minister is correct from this point of view; just like Obi Wan was ‘correct’ when telling Luke that his father was dead. During Big Wets, the wetlands go absolutely boonta as shown in the article’s main photo. Now of course the eviros are going to use this photo for their propaganda pieces. They want you to believe that the wetlands take up the whole Abbot Point and therefore any development anywhere to the area will be a problem. Let’s face it, they have a clear ideology. They want the coal from the Galilee basin to stay in the ground. So do I! But I refuse to distort the facts in order to support my opinion. It is not a ‘must’ that we should stop burning coal; esp thermal coal for electricity production. It’s a good idea but not a ‘must’.
(Story-telling time: I have been stranded at the terminal during a wet spell and we had to load up on locos to get out because the train line is higher than the road. I had a supply of tinned food due to my survivalist delusions, so I would have been fine if stranded for a while. During the wet, the water gets everywhere and any potentially toxic chemicals could of course get in the water. This actually has been happening as I said for 30 years. But lots of water also means low concentrations of anything bad. What the extremists have tried to brainwash us with is that any dose of any toxic chemical will harm us. This is beyond wrong. In your body right now you have some mercury. If you don’t believe me go and check. You can actually feel the mercury that pools in your taint. We have traces of all sorts of toxic chemicals whizzing inside us. And no, de-toxing does not get rid of them. The quackers use the term toxins because they can’t make any specific claims that they remove specific chemicals because the evidence is rather lacking that they do anything. The toxic chemicals that we do have are most likely far too low to be a problem. There is a threshold. It’s like an R2-D2 garbage bin. You can fill it up to a certain level no problems, but add too much and it overflows and gets zapped by a Jawa. Or think of paracetamol. Too little and it does nothing. The right amount can be beneficial. Too much destroys your liver. There are chemicals that help us at the right dose and chemicals that can only harm us but you need to exceed the threshold. There are other chemicals that only require a tiny amount to be dangerous; but again, at ‘homeopathic dilutions’, they are fine too. A single molecule of anything is not going to do any measurable harm. And the bird and the frog from the wetlands lived happily ever after. The end.)
So the toxic chemicals get into the water during the wet season, then get diluted to below dangerous thresholds. The sitting water infiltrates into the ground or evaporates and it is possible that the concentrations could increase, though much of it will be left on/in the ground in tiny amounts after the water is gone.
The proposed dredge spoil could be a problem depending on the volume of spoil compared to the volume of wetlands during the wet. I can’t find numbers but I think conservatively there would be an order of magnitude difference so that any concentrations would be 10% of their previous values once diluted by the wetlands which is a big difference and could easily be the difference between safe levels and dangerous levels. In fact it is likely to be way, way less than 10%. And this is only if the bund walls around the dredge spoil are breached.
The other issue is that more development could mean more illegal discharges from the terminal. Fortunately the guidelines are way more stringent now and the companies actually care more because they don’t want to kill ducks either! They would prefer to kill a human than the ducks probably as the publicity and narratives would be far more damaging if the ducks got f*cked. I have personally inspected around the terminal looking for areas of possible past discharge and we fixed the problems. That doesn’t mean it’s perfect but I do tire of putting horns and goat legs on these people and painting them red. They are not evil! Even if they only care about money, bad publicity from duckicide hurts their bottom line.
The last wrinkled high-vis shirt is my friends from Adani. I have a ‘spy’ embedded in the company so I can’t say too much. They do seem to have different ideas to what I’m used to and I would recommend watching them like hawks if any development goes ahead. But this can be done easily. This is why we have authorities. You can claim that they’ll just be paid off or whatever and this is always possible. The best thing the bird lovers can do probably is spy on the development if it goes ahead. The road to Abbot Point is accessible. You have to be dedicated and not afraid of going ‘bush’ and letting your pubic hair grow. You can spy on most of the terminal from outside the fence and photograph whatever bad stuff you see. Go there during the Wet to see if any ’dirty’ water is escaping. This would make the headlines as it would be a clear breach without any hyperbole required. This is the kind of stuff that I want to see the eco warriors doing. It won’t make instant headlines like when the f*ckw*ts endanger their lives and climb up the shiploaders. But I know, doing the real work that might actually improve the environment is dull and you have better things to do with your time; like oiling your dreadlocks and annoying everyone around you with your new song about the Earth Mother .
I’m not saying that the birds cannot be harmed. But I assess that it’s unlikely when all the factors are considered. The birds have survived next to the terminal since around the time that Return of the Jedi was released. Any breached dangerous chemical concentrations would be greatly diluted during the Wet. I wish we could stop the hysteria and have a rational conversation; but what would the fun of that be…
So try harder greenies and stop acting like extremists turning those with different views into cartoon villains please; for me, can you? If you can, I promise to reduce my intake of koala-fed beef to only 5kg a week.