FARA Newsletter Nov 2019 (PDF version)

Dear Murujuga/Burrup/FARA supporters,
It’s been a while but here’s an update of what’s been happening since February – and it looks like we’ll be ending the year on a fairly positive note, but we will also be relying on your promised letter-writing skills!

YARA Pilbara licenses:

FARA contested in late 2018 that the granting of a license to Yara’s ammonium nitrate plant as an amendment to that of the original Fertiliser plant was illegal – and it was immediately conceded to be so by the State Solicitor’s Office!
Yara has now applied for two new licenses and we are carefully scrutinizing them to ensure that stringent conditions are put on their emissions, especially as their parent company claims to be the world’s leading manufacturer of scrubber technology!
If you could please also make submissions – due by 5 Dec 2019 – it is important to emphasise that license conditions must be specific and quantify the cumulative emissions from both Yara plants, especially as these emissions have an adverse effect on the rock art, human health, and biodiversity. Licence applications and information are here:
Ammonia plant and TAN plant.
Make submission/s to [email protected]here are some dot points to help you make your submission.

Unfortunately, the EPA’s long awaited report in Sept on Yara’s emissions compliance was far from satisfactory, recommending that they minimise their emissions ‘as far as practicable’ and ‘adopt and implement best practice emissions control technology’, but with no definition of what is ‘practicable’ and ‘best practice’ in the WA context, and no stated mechanisms for checking compliance and making it enforceable.
Furthermore, the EPA only consulted with Yara and did not consider the scientific reports and published papers sent to them by Dr John Black, which clearly show that the acidity from industrial emissions on the Burrup (pH down to 3.81 downwind of the NWS Shelf Joint Ventures plant) is already dissolving the patina and will in time destroy the rock art.
And crucially they also overlooked the inevitable effect of toxic emissions on human health.

FARA has written a strong letter to the Minister while he considers the EPA’s report,  but we would be really grateful if you could also bombard him with yours (shorter and in your
own words).
His email address is [email protected] – please let us know what response you get.

Woodside expansion

As you are no doubt aware, Woodside plans to greatly extend its footprint on the Burrup peninsula by bringing ashore the Browse and Scarborough gas fields, thus increasing its operation – and its pollution – till 2070.
At a meeting with Woodside in July we heard that they are well aware of scrubber technology that could reduce their emissions to near zero – so, knowing that the WA government is dead keen to approve this expansion (all those Jobs arguments) all we can do is fight them on the new Polluter Pays principle, insisting that they spend a small percentage of their huge annual profits to apply this technology that can reduce their already damaging emissions to near zero…
You can join us in this fight by making a submission to the WA Department of Water &
Environmental Regulation’s Climate Change Issues Paper, due by 29 November, and
emphasising the urgent need for government to put tighter controls on industry’s damaging emissions.
To help you, the Environmental Defenders’ Office (EDO) has prepared a very helpful factsheet.

UWA Burrup Rock Art Research Project

Those of you who kindly contributed to our UWA rock art research project last year will have had a detailed newsletter on its progress. Suffice to say it’s going well in its analysis of the process of dissolution of the patina by acidic emissions, although they are now waiting on further rocks to determine the rate and long term effects. Our huge thanks as always to the tireless John Black for driving this process.
But the most heartening news is that we believe that, through John Black and FARA’s efforts, the WA government, industry and the Murujuga Aboriginal Corporation are finally indicating that they are beginning to understand the severity and urgency of protecting the ancient rock art from industrial emissions. The first step, the application to place Murujuga on the Tentative World Heritage list is almost ready – all it needs now is for industry to show its social responsibility and government to be brave and honest enough to legislate accordingly.

2020 Burrup Tour: 1 – 9 August

Next year June Moorhouse will be taking a well-deserved break and stepping into her big shoes will be committee members Marie Ferland and Susan Swain. Details of the tour will soon be on our website, but in the meantime ask your friends and family to register their interest at [email protected] 
These tours are described by so many as the ‘trip of a lifetime’ and they are our main means of creating awareness of the vulnerability of our precious world heritage-deserving petroglyphs and gaining support for our campaign to save them.

Website Manager

Speaking of website and support, we urgently need an interim Website Manager. If you’re interested and able, please contact [email protected] to discuss.

FARA thanks you for all that you do to support us, particularly in the letter-writing department! Little David has to keep challenging Goliath, and we believe his Achilles heel (forgive the mixed metaphor) is now nicely exposed!
Yours truly,
Judith
Judith Hugo & Marie Ferland, Co-convenors, Friends of Australian Rock Art (FARA)
[email protected] 0439 090 321