Time for a new way (2) Peter Henning

Reproduced from Tasmanian Times

“Freedom is actually the reason that men live together in political organizations at all.  Without it, political life as such would be meaningless. The raison d’etre of politics is freedom, and its field of experience is action.” (Hannah Arendt)

LAST WEEK I attempted to put a case for the need to reshape Tasmania’s political landscape and to refashion the direction Tasmania is going: Tasmania: Time for a New Way

I suggested that 2009 presents an opportunity for the development of a coalition of political forces which understands the vital importance of the interconnections between the social-environmental-economic.

The response to what I wrote indicates that it is clear that there are multiple voices within Tasmania’s diverse communities who recognize the importance and the urgency of a new political direction.

Tasmania: Time for a New Way by Peter Henning

Reproduced from Tasmanian Times

WE TASMANIANS are on the horns of a dilemma, a dilemma worsening by the day and recognized by many, but needed to be understood more widely and more quickly.

There is a clear and massive disjuncture between the whole focus and direction of Tasmanian Labor-Liberal accord policy, and local, national and global realities and imperatives.

The dilemma is profound, and cannot be resolved by the current level of political debate in Tasmania.  The reasons for this are so plain that it almost embarrassing to state them.  Outside Tasmania, in Australia and in the wider world, things are changing rapidly, more rapidly than has occurred before in living memory – at least the living memory of post-1945 generations of Australians (excluding the experiences of those who have already lived through their own hells on earth, in failed states elsewhere in the world).

It is blindingly obvious that the raft of problems confronting us now, and which will continue to do so in the near future and in the longer term, are being ignored at the State political level.  There is a kind of Mameluke-like disaster unfolding in Tasmania.

Your chance to help challenge the Tasmanian Government's assessment of Gunns' pulp mill

On behalf of all Tasmanians, three courageous people - an organic walnut farmer, a winemaker, and remedial massage therapist along with Environment Tasmania -  have gone to the Supreme Court to challenge the government's decisions to refuse to give reasons for its decisions in relation to the pulp mill assessment and approval.

Now is an absolutely critical time to help them with your donation to challenge the Tasmanian Government's assessment of Gunns' pulp mill and save the Tamar Valley, Tasmania's forests and our natural environment .

With Gunns granted partial federal government approval for the mill and continuing to talk to potential pulp mill investors, the three courageous Tasmanians need your help with the crucial legal challenge.

You can become a leader in stopping Gunns Pulp Mill by donating to the legal challenge fund and passing on this message to your friend's and supporters of Tasmania natural environment and vibrant, wine, agriculture and tourism industries.

In the first legal challenge to the Tasmanian Government's assessment of Gunns' pulp mill, three Tamar Valley business owners and Environment Tasmania have launched a Supreme Court challenge to the Tasmanian Government's approval of Gunns' pulp mill in the Tamar Valley. The court case is currently due to be heard in the first week of April 2009, and they need your help and donations to fund this legal challenge. To read more about this important legal challenge, go to www.et.org.au/node/10

'There's No Money In Pulp' by Christine Milne

Despite being an environmental disaster, the Gunns pulp mill was at least supposed to make lots of money for Tasmania. But it turns out it won't even do that.

With Gunns putting themselves under the financial spotlight by potentially misleading the Australian Stock Exchange, now is a good time to have another look at the economics of the proposed pulp mill.

As the global financial crisis begins to bite in what commentators are quaintly calling the "real" economy, any big project that promises to create jobs might, on the face of it, be a shoo-in. But it's not hard to see why the majority of Tasmanians oppose Gunns' pulp mill when it offers only illusory new jobs to Tasmanians while jeopardising our $3 billion tourism industry and our priceless environment.

If anything, it is at difficult times like these that we most need to do proper cost-benefit analyses of any proposals. Instead of simply promoting the supposed benefits of a project, as Gunns is doing, we need to weigh those benefits against not only the direct costs we will incur by going ahead but also the lost opportunity costs — what else could we be doing that would be more beneficial to more people?

Read the full story at The New Matilda

SURVIVAL: 21st Century Lessons from the Great Depression. UTas Conversation Series

Peter Cundall and Buck Emberg in conversation with Henry Reynolds How will we meet the 21st century challenges of global warming and the crisis of capitalism? History is a great teacher. Join in a conversation on sustainable living that draws on experience in three continents of the Great Depression.

Preliminary Hydrodynamic Modelling of the Bell Bay Outfall - Herzfeld Report, CSIRO


In a nutshell

The report by CSIRO's Dr Mike Herzfeld was finally made public by Gunns after months of resisting its release. Greens Christine Milne had been trying to get the report released under Freedom Of Information but had been blocked by Gunns. The Company released the report just ahead of a departmental review of the FOI request.

The report found "The (64-million litre treated effluent) plume frequently undergoes extremely large, rapid, variations in position". In low current speeds the effluent would pool at the surface,"and as currents increased, it did not simply mix back to low concentrations, but would be transported many kilometres from the outfall. The modelling report found that concentrations in excess of the permit conditions would occurr in Commonwealth waters on almost a daily basis. The behaviour of the effluent plume generated by the Gunns' consultants (GHD) modelling appears "highly likely to be erroneous".


Herzfeld Bass St
Figure 2.4, Herzfeld, p9. Modelling of potential spread of pulp mill effluent from the outfall in Bass Strait predicted for 2015.  Red areas show the highest concentrations.  Analysis reveals that there is a gradual spreading into the interior of Bass Strait over time.


Read the Executive Summary

Numerical modelling has been performed to characterise the effluent plume from the proposed Bell Bay Pulp Mill outfall in Bass Strait. This modelling is preliminary in the sense that detailed comparisons of model results with measured data have not been performed so as to verify the accuracy of the model. It does, however, address many of the weaknesses present in the previous modelling commissioned by Gunns and performed by GHD.

Under appropriate configuration, and realistic parameterisation and forcing, the model indicates that the plume assumes the character of a long ribbon extending many kilometres from the outfall (e.g. Figure 4.4.1). The plume frequently undergoes extremely large, rapid, variations in position. When current speeds are low, the effluent released from the outfall pools at the surface. This results in high concentrations within the plume. As current speeds increase, the effluent is not simply mixed back to low concentrations, but rather transported many kilometres from the outfall by the currents as a coherent pool of high concentration (e.g. Figure 4.3.3).

The proposed extent of the mixing zone surrounding the outfall derived from modelling performed by GHD is considered to be an underestimate. The principal factor responsible for this underestimate has been identified as the use of excessive values of horizontal mixing in their model (e.g. Figure 4.6.3). For the space and time scales resolved by the model, these values are approximately an order of magnitude greater than that expected in the oceanic environment surrounding the outfall.

Using definitions of the mixing zone extent and Water Quality Objectives for chlorate as prescribed in the State Pulp Mill Permits, the modelling performed in this study indicates that the chlorate Objectives are frequently exceeded outside the mixing zone. Specifically, during the model simulation periods, concentrations in excess of the Water Quality Objectives’s were found in Commonwealth waters on almost a daily basis (e.g. Figure 4.4.4). There is every reason to expect that the mechanisms responsible for these exceedances would apply in other periods.


Get the full Herzfeld Report on Hydrodynamic Modelling of the Bell Bay Outfall

Some questions in the public interest

1. Is it true Gunns is laying off workers, or about to lay off workers?
2. Is it true Greg L’Estrange of Gunns has been put in charge of the downsizing?
3. Is it true that Gunns is only logging at 45% of their cut of late last year?
4. Is it true there have been no woodchip ships into Tasmania for some considerable time, that in fact the woodchip market has collapsed?
5. Is it true that Greg L’Estrange’s public comments in which he puts a positive spin on the Tasmanian woodchip situation, accidentally or deliberately misleading the market?

Pulp mill chemicals threaten 5,000 residents of Mackenzie, British Columbia.

27 January 2009 Report from the  Vancouver Sun

If the chlorine-dioxide tanks at the Mackenzie pulp mill rupture, they could send a yellow cloud of deadly gas into the town of Mackenzie, threatening the lives of the 5,000 people who live there.

Used to bleach wood-pulp, chlorine dioxide is one of the most dangerous chemicals stored at the pulp mill. It's a liquid, but when concentrated chlorine dioxide is exposed to air and light, it decomposes into chlorine gas, the same gas used on soldiers in trenches in the First World War. It's heavier than air and creeps over the terrain with the prevailing winds. Diluted to 15 parts per million, it smells like bleach and causes severe throat irritation. It's considered very dangerous at 50 parts per million and at 1,000 parts per million, it causes instant death.

Mackenzie's chlorine dioxide is stored in three five-tonne tanks: 1.6 million litres of deadly chemical, safe only as long as there is money to keep the mill's power boiler operating. It's extremely volatile and cannot be moved by rail or truck. It's made at the mill site. "The only way they can get rid of it is to use it," said former Mackenzie mill worker Rod Clark. He said the province is going to have to run the Mackenzie mill to solve the problem.

Fifteen years ago at Powell River, a 600,000-litre chlorine-dioxide tank -- a little over a third of the amount stored at Mackenzie -- ruptured in what the environment ministry called the largest chemical spill in B.C. history. It sent a thick, yellowish cloud of heavier-than air gas flowing through the mill site and into nearby Malaspina Strait. Winds sent the gas cloud perilously close to the first nations village of Sliammon, three km away. Workers described the rupture as "a scene from hell" as thick clouds of the gas crept over the mill site.

Will Gunns be storing chlorine dioxide onsite and if so will the same threats as posed from the Canadian Mill be threatening Tamar residents?

Where is Gunns' risk assessment and management plan?

Important limited opportunity to have a say re the proposed East Tamar Highway bypass

The East Tamar Highway is now part of the National AusLink Network. The stated design intent of this bypass is "to maintain truck speeds at or near 100kph" (read log trucks).

The bypass will be affected by fog at least 70 days per year. Why build a black spot into a national highway?

The current development application with Launceston City Council still contains the controversial T-junctions.

Giant forest rally

Still Wild Still Threatened is a grassroots community organisation campaigning for the immediate protection of Tasmania's ancient forests and the creation of an equitable and environmentally sustainable forestry industry in Tasmania.



An open letter to members of local government councils and Parliament

Open letter by Buck and Joan Emberg, Co-Chairs of the Voters’ Block, Tasmanians Against the Pulpmill (TAP) to all candidates in forthcoming elections (Legislative Council, - May 09, local councils - October 09, state - March 2010, federal - 2010).


January 2009
Charles/Charlotte Blog MHA (all federal, state and/or local politicians and possible candidates).
Buck and Joan Emberg, Co-Chairs of the Voters’ Block, Tasmanians Against the Pulpmill (TAP)

Dear Ms/Mr Blog,

Do not take this letter personally, although it will probably have an effect upon you in some way, large or small.

Update letter for TAP from Ald Jeremy Ball re Gunns' pipeline route.

Dear TAP members
On Tuesday January 13 2009 I emailed 2 questions to Launceston City Council's Director's of Infrastructure and Plannng.
The questions were
1.  Does the realignment of Gunns proposed water pipeline bring it on to any LCC land?
2.  Does the realignment of the pipeline along the E Tamar Higway corridor have any implications for the Development Application Council in currently considering re the Dilston Bypass and East Tamar Highway upgrade.?
Preliminary responses to both questions were "No - the proposed changes do not impact on any LCC owned land."
However Harry Galea Director of Infrastructure informed me that since all Gunns technical staff were on leave till January 19 he couldn't get a definitive answer till then.
Interestingly today I received an email from Harry Galea that technical staff hadn't got back to him and the request has now been forwarded to Mr Winston Quaile who will be providing the definitive response.
As soon as I receive that response I will forward it to TAP.
Previously LCC General Manager Frank Dixon has made it clear to Gunns Ltd that since LCC withdrew support for the Pulp Mill in November 2007 Council will in no way cooperate with Gunns Ltd on any aspect of the Pulp Mill project and this is still the case.
I am continuing to pursue other avenues where LCC can take action on the Mill and will keep everyone informed of actions as they happen.
Let's make this the year we put the Pulp Mill out of its misery once and for all!

Alderman Jeremy Ball

Launceston City Council

It's time to stop and get off the Gunns pulp mill merry-go-round

Bob McMahon TAP Spokesman, January 8, 2009

As the community campaign against the Gunns pulp mill proposed for the Tamar Valley enters its fifth year, federal Environment Minister Peter Garrett has set a new deadline of March 3, 2011, for Gunns to complete hydrodynamic modelling of effluent dispersal into Bass Strait.

The extension condemns the people of Tasmania — the communities of the Tamar Valley in particular — to at least two more years of uncertainty and conflict. Investment in the region will continue to dry up because of the continuing threat of the pulp mill. The property market collapsed years ago — an analysis of sales figures for 2003 and 2008 show a 75% decline — and people have held off investing for four years in the hope that the mill plan will be knocked on the head.

A further tough year ahead, perhaps a decade for Gunns and Forestry Tasmania

Having checked the stars and examined at great length the entrails of a recently departed chicken, I predict a further tough year, perhaps a decade, ( poor reception on the crystal ball), for Gunns and Forestry Tasmania.

Protest action against the two will no doubt be the norm as destructive practices continue and Tasmania’s forests are sold at peppercorn prices with the consent of Labor Premier David Bartlett.

Now you don’t have to be a sage to predict this future. It is obvious to everyone.

2009 YEAR OF RECKONING - Bob McMahon, TAP spokesman

The TAP Army campaigned on many fronts in 2008. There were many victories but despite heroic efforts by the Tasmanian community the war continues. We have entered the fifth year of the campaign. We are undefeated but we are not yet victorious. Enjoy your Christmas and New Year break because much will be asked of you in 2009 to fashion Tasmania into the enlightened  island we know it can become. "Reculer pour mieux sauter " means "to withdraw in order to maker a bigger leap". Make the most of your leave in the company of family and friends because early in the New Year it's back to the front line for us all, with new armaments and increased resolve.

2009, like 1989 across Europe, promises to be the year of reckoning for the world as well as Tasmania. The old financial order is collapsing and the worst is yet to come.

We have in Tasmania suffered under the dark extremism of a Labor government which on the one hand closes a cancer ward and on the other throws tens of millions of our dollars at a race track; on the one hand, it props up the logging industry and Gunns Ltd to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars annually but denies a ten million dollar loan to keep ACL Bearings and 189 jobs afloat; on the one hand, it presides in dithering helplessness over the decline in public health, aged care, railways, public housing and public education, while, with passionate intensity it promotes an AFL football team. An infatuation with circuses has always been the historic indicator of a society in decline, a society that has lost its way.

The State and Federal Labor obsession with the pulp mill is driving the Tamar Region into recession. People have held off investing here because of the threat of the pulp mill. The property market in the Tamar Valley collapsed years ago.

Environment Minister Peter Garrett has an opportunity on January 5th 2009 to turn that around by refusing to grant the remaining approvals for the Gunns' mill.

BUT the indicators are not good. The approvals Garrett has granted so far have been on a "nod and a wink" basis. TAP proved that with its own Road Kill Monitoring Survey, by comparison with which the Gunns version was feeble and inadequate. Yet Garrett signed off on it and granted an extension to Jan 5th 2009 for the completion of the modules Gunns failed to complete by the original deadline.

Tasmanians will remind Garrett, Rudd and our federal representative, MHA Jodie Campbell, what the implications will be if Garrett grants the final approvals for the mill. They will come to understand that the community resolved years ago NOT to have this pulp mill. They will come to understand that the Tasmanian community is mobilised to deploy its full resources to defend  lives, businesses, jobs, families, health and property against state and corporate acts of terrorism. If Garret grants the approvals he will have declared war on the people of Tasmania. We will have no choice but to defend ourselves. Should he refuse the approvals and refuses further extensions to Gunns, icons of Peter Garrett will be worshipped across the nation.


When: Friday Jan 2nd 2009 from 11.00am - 12.00pm.
Where: MHA Jodie Campbell's Office 100 St Johns St Launceston, (opposite the Post Office)
Why: To make it clear to Rudd and the Labor Government that if Garrett grants the approvals it will be a betrayal of the Tasmanian people. To make it abundantly clear to Jodie Campbell that if Garrett grants the approvals her political career is over. We will defend ourselves.


When: Tuesday Jan 6th 2009 at 12.00pm.
Where: Jodie Campbell's office, 100 St John St Launceston.
Why: Celebration or Condemnation of Garrett's decision.

Bob McMahon.