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EcoNetwork shuts down Hunter offshore wind concern in Port Stephens Examiner

Environmental organisation EcoNetwork Port Stephens president Ian Watt has commented on disingenuous claims and rhetoric espoused by Hunter offshore wind opponents. 

An excerpt from the Port Stephens Examiner:

"Worrying about whales and other wildlife being impacted by offshore wind farms is a reasonable concern, we are all worried about the environment, but the primary threat to the environment as we know it is climate change," Mr Watt said.

"CSIRO and Antarctic scientists have reported that the Antarctic is one of the main global hot spots for warming oceans and that the collapse of the ice sheets due to climate change will jeopardise the future of krill populations, and therefore the humpback whale population.

Hungry and starving whales will not make for a good tourist attraction in the coming years. This risk is essentially being ignored when continuing to press for local concerns over a global emergency, one that has been well documented and reported since the mid 1950s and early 1960s."

“The claims that there has been a lack of consultation would appear to be a rather disingenuous red herring. A 65 day consultative period was held earlier this year, resulting in 1,916 submissions. Clearly, a good proportion of the community did hear about this consultation period, as a result of which, the Government reduced the overall size of the area by a third and increased the distance offshore.”

"To be fair, at this very early stage in the process, and with many more consultative periods ahead, the government, so far, does appear to have shown some goodwill on that front.

Without any additional information, it is unlikely that more community consultation will achieve any community benefit other than providing a political platform for more rhetoric.”

Mr Watt said modern day anchors for offshore installations such as floating (semi-submersible) oil rigs and wind farms do not rely on dead weight anchors such as concrete blocks the size of a house with massive clanking chains that Mr Dutton claimed on the ABC, or anchors the size of a coal ship which will affect the seabed and currents.

"Modern anchors and cables are specially designed with massive holding power, do not have a big footprint, and are secured by cable rather than chain."

"The question is, are we prepared to accept power rationing or even power cuts on hot summer evenings, or is the community preference to expand coal and CSG and accept the demise of the environment and the whales for short term benefits?

However, these benefits do not seem to take into account the world that is being left for our children and grandchildren. It is estimated that we will reach 2.5C above pre-industrial temperatures by 2100 or before, with devastating impacts.

This is a mere 77 years away, well within the lifespan of today's children who apparently have no say in this short term thinking that will affect their long term futures."

Port Stephens


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