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PAST LETTERS FOR INFORMATION ONLY IN 2014: these were sent by concerned families and businesses.

Minister for the Environment 

The Hon David Templeman MLA
Minister for the Environment
29th Floor, Allendale Square
77 St Georges Terrace
PERTH WA 6000

Dear Minister

PUBLIC INTEREST CONFLICTS WITH DIAMOND MILL AS SITE FOR BIOMASS POWER PLANT

 

I write to seek clarification from you of a statement in relation to you in the Public Environmental Review for the Biomass Power Plant, Diamond Mill, Manjimup (January 2008, page 50) which says “The Minister supports the introduction of a regulation allowing leases in State forests for purposes that would have public benefit, such as the biomass power plant.”. The context is that the Biomass Power Plant is proposed to be located in State Forest at Diamond Mill.

 

Minister, please reply and advise me what public benefit is gained from locating this polluting industrial activity at Diamond Mill in State Forest with the current application based on 380,000 tonnes per annum of Tasmanian bluegum and pine fuel sourced from up to 100 kilometres away, not from the State Forest near Diamond Mill? There are three classified district industrial estates closer to the source of the wood fuel.

 

There is only a commercial interest for the proponents in locating at Diamond Mill, to save on power line costs because of proximity to the Manjimup electricity substation. Against this commercial interest of a multinational consortium, there are two demonstrable major conflicts with public interests.

 

Firstly, the Western Australian Planning Commission published the ‘Warren-Blackwood Region Industrial Sites Study’ in July 2007 and in regard to Diamond Mill the Study stated “Diamond Mill has the existing Lambert siding and the main Manjimup substation located at the site; however these benefits are mitigated by the conservation issues and possible conflicts with the planning objectives of protecting this vegetation and protecting prime agricultural land.” (page 9). The Study concluded “In consideration of sites with existing industry it was identified that North Greenbushes, Manjimup and Hester have industrial expansion potential and the study recommends that these sites provide the short-medium term opportunities for sub-regional industries and are classified as district industrial estates.” (page 59). The initial version of the Study published in June 2005 made the same conclusions. The Department of Environment and Conservation were represented on the Industrial Sites Study Steering Committee by the Manager for the Warren Region.

 

Secondly, the Department of Water submission to the EPA on the Public Environmental Review objects to the Biomass Power Plant being located at Diamond Mill because energy industry facilities are an incompatible land use in proclaimed public drinking water source areas under the Country Areas Water Supply Act 1947. The Department of Water has identified the Biomass Power Plant proposed to be located in the Warren Water Reserve at Diamond Mill as a threat to the drinking water supply to the town of Pemberton and future public drinking water supplies from the Warren River catchment. The Department of Water recommends the Biomass Power Plant be located north of Bridgetown.

 

Information obtained under the Freedom of Information Act 1992 evidences the Shire of Manjimup ignored the Western Australian Planning Commission Warren-Blackwood Region Industrial Sites Study when writing to Connell Wagner on 27 August 2007 suggesting the Diamond Mill site to them as consultants for Western Australia Biomass Pty Ltd.  In August 2007 the Biomass Power Plant was at late stage planning for Hester, north of Bridgetown. The Shire of Manjimup was negligent in attracting the project to Diamond Mill, ignoring both WA Planning Commission strategy and water resource management legislation.

 

I await your reply on ‘public benefit’ justifying a regulation for use of the Diamond Mill site for the proposed Biomass Power Plant when there are two demonstrable major conflicts with the public interest.

 

Yours sincerely

(download and print letter)

 

If you wish to email or fax downloaded letter:  Email: david-templeman@dpc.wa.gov.au   Fax: 92214665

Premier

 

Hon Alan Carpenter MLA

Premier

197 St George's Terrace

PERTH WA 6000

 

Dear Premier

 

KARRI FOREST AS FUEL FOR BIOMASS POWER GENERATION

 

I write to seek your assurance that the Karri forest will not be used as fuel for biomass power generation.  My grounds for concern are:

·         a Biomass Power Plant of 40MW capacity is proposed for Diamond Mill, Manjimup, with the current application based on 380,000 tonnes per annum of Tasmanian bluegum and pine fuel sourced from up to 100 kilometres away;

·         the Minister for Forestry on 29 November 2007 in answer to Parliamentary Question 5603 said Karri, Jarrah and Marri will be offered by tender to energy markets;

·         in a 25 January 2008 letter responding to private questions on this, the Minister for Forestry said “I understand that the Manjimup biomass plant in question does not intend, under its current application process, to utilise fuel from native forest residues. Should the project ever reach a stage where it wished to expand its operation, that expansion would be subject of a further assessment process.”;

·         it is reasonably foreseeable that such energy generation using Karri, Jarrah and Marri will be conducted within the Diamond Mill precinct near Manjimup, taking advantage of the extensive network of roads previously used for the ‘Marri Woodchip Project’, for transport cost savings; and

·         it is reasonably foreseeable that Karri, Jarrah and Marri will be burnt in the proposed Biomass Power Plant at Diamond Mill, as a commercially advantageous variation to the 380,000 tonnes per annum wood fuel mix for the 40MW capacity, and for expansion beyond 40MW output.

 

Premier, in the Minister for Forestry’s answer to Parliamentary Question 5603 he said Karri, Jarrah and Marri ‘forest residue’ and ‘forest waste’ will be used for energy markets. These ‘forest residue’ and ‘forest waste’ terms are precisely the same terms that were used to justify the notorious 'Marri Woodchip Project', where Marri was described as residue and waste from clear felling, and millions of tonnes were squandered as wood chips. Now, Marri is in demand for furniture and flooring; exemplifying 'forest residue’ and ‘forest waste' is misused terminology.

 

I am sure you would agree, there must not be another assault on the Karri forest as there was for the 'Marri Woodchip Project'.  In June 1999 you said in the Legislative Assembly “Woodchipping began in Western Australia in about 1973 and there was immediate public opposition to it.”…… “People could see then the environmental catastrophe that would result, just as they told the Western Australian farming community that over-clearing would lead to an environmental catastrophe, and it has.” Your words then are equally applicable now if your Government allows Karri, Jarrah and Marri to be burnt for electricity generation. I believe the proposed Biomass Power Plant at Diamond Mill is a ‘Trojan horse’ that will lead to an assault on the Karri forest as an energy resource, causing justifiable public opposition.

 

Premier, please reply and assure me the Karri forest will not be used and abused for biomass power generation. Western Australia exports $4 billion worth of natural gas annually; surely we have sufficient clean natural gas for electricity generation in WA as an alternative to burning the Karri forest?

 

I look forward to your prompt and personal reply.

 

Yours sincerely 

 

(download and print letter)

 

If you wish to email or fax downloaded letter:  Email: wa-government@dpc.wa.gov.au   Fax: 93221213

Concerned families and businesses are urged to write to relevant State Government Ministers to request their departments make submissions to the Environmental Protection Authority on the Public Environmental Review.  Please read and download letters below, add your address, sign and post letters to the Ministers, URGENTLY, by 22 February 2008.

Minister for Planning and Infrastructure

 

The Hon Alannah MacTiernan MLA
Minister for Planning and Infrastructure

13th Floor, Dumas House
2 Havelock Street
WEST PERTH WA 6005

 

Dear Minister

 

EPA: IMPACT OF BIOMASS POWER PLANT ON ROAD SAFETY IN MANJIMUP AND PEMBERTON

I write to draw your attention to the potential negative impacts heavy-haulage tracks supplying a proposed Biomass Power Plant at Diamond Mill, Manjimup may have on road safety and to encourage you to request the Department of Planning and Infrastructure to make a submission to the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) on the Public Environmental Review for the Biomass Power Plant. This is urgent as submissions to the EPA are required by 26 February 2008.

380,000 tonnes of Tasmanian bluegum and pine fuel for the Plant will be transported up to 100 kilometres to the Diamond Mill site south of Manjimup, including from north of Bridgetown. An additional up to 34 heavy-haulage trucks (60 tonnes when loaded) will traverse the South West Highway daily between 7am and 7pm, increasing the already major presence of similar woodchip heavy-haulage trucks since the Diamond Mill to Bunbury rail line closed.

The major presence of these 60 tonne haulage trucks at present is daunting for most sedan drivers, they are forty times their size and dominate narrow roads; the prospect of a substantial increase in number is of great concern to our family. There has been no overtaking zone constructed between Manjimup and Bridgetown since the woodchip trucking began, and the 10 kilometres of South West highway south of Manjimup to the Diamond Mill is particularly narrow. Windscreen damage and near misses from these huge trucks is common.

Minister, I appreciate we all have to share the roads, but the 380,000 tonne increase in haulage for wood is massive compared to, for example, annual haulage of 25,000 tonnes of potatoes and 10,000 tonnes of apples from the Manjimup and Pemberton region. Since closure of the railway line, private woodchip and timber transport is increasingly dominant at the expense of the public interest, and other industry, particularly tourism which is important to the Manjimup and Pemberton region, and Walpole where the iconic Tree Top Walk is located. Surely it won’t take a fatal accident on this aspect of the highway, involving either a local family or visitors/tourists for this imbalance to be rectified?

The proposed Biomass Power Plant, which will burn 380,000 tonnes of wood a year to generate 40MW of electricity was initially proposed for a site north of Bridgetown, but this was overwhelmingly rejected by the community of Bridgetown. It was a shock to me in October 2007 to learn the Shire of Manjimup were ‘thrilled’ they had succeeded in convincing the Biomass Power Plant to relocate to Manjimup! The Public Environmental Review is disturbingly inadequate for assessment of the road safety and other impacts of the increased heavy-haulage.

Please reply and assure me Minister that you will bring the Public Environmental Review to the attention of the Department of Planning and Infrastructure and encourage them to make a submission to the EPA by the 26 February 2008 deadline.

Yours sincerely

(download and letter)

If you wish to email or fax downloaded letter:  Email: alannah-mactiernan@dpc.wa.gov.au ; Fax: 92136401

In State Parliament on 25 May 2005, Paul Omodei MLA, Member for Warren Blackwood, moved “That this house condemns the Labor government for its failure to resolve problems with the Lambert (being Diamond Mill) to Bunbury railway line, which has resulted in the closure of the line and a dangerous increase in the number of heavy haulage trucks using the South Western Highway”, and he said in his speech “People dread the trip to Bunbury for medical treatment for themselves or their loved ones. I have now been using the road for most of my life, and on a more regular basis over the past 20 years or so. I am not saying that I am any rally driver or whatever, but I consider the road to be dangerous, even to me. We see near misses all the time.”  When referring to the death of a truck driver in a collision with a heavy-haulage truck on the South West Highway, Mr Omodei said in his speech "The highway is also a school bus route. If the truck had hit a school bus, it would have killed 20 or 30 children." (Hansard, Legislative Assembly, 25 May 2005).  Mr Omodei, please advise the EPA of your concerns re heavy-haulage on the South West Highway.

Minister for Agriculture and Food

 

The Hon Kim M Chance MLC

Minister for Agriculture and Food

11th Floor, Dumas House
2 Havelock Street
WEST PERTH WA 6005

 

Dear Minister

 

EPA: IMPACT OF BIOMASS POWER PLANT ON AGRICULTURE IN MANJIMUP AND PEMBERTON

I write to draw your attention to the potential negative impacts a proposed Biomass Power Plant at Diamond Mill, Manjimup may have on my agricultural business and to encourage you to request the Department of Agriculture and Food to make submission to the Environmental Protection Authority on the Public Environmental Review (January 2008) for the Biomass Power Plant. This is urgent as submissions to the EPA are required by 26 February 2008.

The site proposed for the Biomass Power Plant is approximately 10 kilometers south of Manjimup, effectively in the centre of the Manjimup and Pemberton ‘food bowl’ which contributes in excess of $150 million to the regional and State economy. Agriculture is the major primary employment in the region, with a recent study by the Pemberton Wine Region Association showing 600 persons employed in viticulture and the wine industry alone. Historically, this region has been renowned for fruit, potato and vegetable production; viticulture, and new truffle and green tea initiatives add to our proud claim as the ‘food bowl’ of the South West. This agricultural production aligns with our vital ‘clean and green’ image.

The Public Environmental Review is disturbingly inadequate in regard to potential impacts on my agribusiness and property values. There is no mention of possible impacts on agriculture and food quality certification, or of the Horticultural Research Institute nearby and the field trials which have a major role in the region. The continued competitiveness of agricultural produce from Manjimup and Pemberton is dependent on food quality certification from Food Standards Australia and New Zealand and similar national and international certification organisations. In general, the technical requirements to achieve food quality certification are becoming more rather than less demanding on producers. Standards required to be achieved increasingly turn upon ‘worlds best practice’. Shift in air quality in the Biomass Power Plant notional 7km radius pollution zone from that normally expected in a non-industrial rural area to approximate what would be found in a mixed urban/industrial area will increase risks associated with both maintaining and achieving food quality certification. Established agricultural producers are being asked to accept these risks with no benefit in return for them from the proposed Biomass Power Plant. We will be seeking compensation if our agribusiness is harmed.

This is the first biomass power plant in WA, and there are reasonable grounds to predict it will expand beyond 40MW at the Diamond Mill site, fuelled from State Forest. There are many examples in WA of where the value of agricultural production has suffered because of inadequate consideration of the impact of pollutants. These mistakes must not be repeated. Please reply and assure me Minister that you will bring the Public Environmental Review to the attention of the Department of Agriculture and Food and encourage them to make a submission to the EPA by the 26 February 2008 deadline.

Yours sincerely

(download letter)

If you wish to email or fax downloaded letter:  Email: kim-chance@dpc.wa.gov.au  Fax: 92136701

Letter to Minister for Tourism

 

The Hon Sheila M McHale MLA

Minister for Tourism

12th Floor, Dumas House
2 Havelock Street
WEST PERTH WA 6005

 

Dear Minister

 

EPA: IMPACT OF BIOMASS POWER PLANT ON TOURISM IN MANJIMUP AND PEMBERTON

I write to draw your attention to the potential negative impacts a proposed Biomass Power Plant at Diamond Mill, Manjimup may have on tourism and to encourage you to request Tourism Western Australia to make a submission to the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) on the Public Environmental Review for the Biomass Power Plant. This is urgent as submissions to the EPA are required by 26 February 2008.

The site proposed for the Biomass Power Plant is approximately 10 kilometres south of Manjimup, effectively in the centre of the Manjimup and Pemberton region which attracts intrastate, interstate and international visitors because of the unique Karri forest, food and wine, and ‘clean and green’ environment. In your statement of 17 December 2007, you said visitors to WA spent $5 billion in the previous year. We believe the Karri forest region, often featured in international advertising, has made a substantial contribution to attracting visitors to WA. In the same statement you referred to visitors from Singapore and Malaysia in particular growing; that is also our experience, with the visitors attracted to temperate climate holidays in the rural and forested environment of Manjimup and Pemberton.

The proposed Biomass Power Plant, which will burn 380,000 tonnes of wood a year to generate 40MW of electricity was initially proposed for a site north of Bridgetown, but this was overwhelmingly rejected by the community of Bridgetown who wanted to maintain their ‘clean and green’ image. It was a shock to me in October 2007 to learn the Shire of Manjimup were ‘thrilled’ they had succeeded in convincing the Biomass Power Plant to relocate to Manjimup!

The Public Environmental Review is totally inadequate in regard to potential impacts on tourism. For example, an additional up to 34 approximately 60 tonne when loaded trucks will traverse the South West highway daily between 7am and 7pm, exacerbating the already major presence of similar woodchip trucks since the Diamond Mill to Bunbury rail line was closed.  This will be a deterrent to return visitors in particular and increases the risk of fatal injury on the narrow highway. One such event involving tourists from Singapore or Malaysia, then reported in those countries, could take Manjimup and Pemberton off their tourism map. I am also concerned at both the potential actual and perceived impacts of atmospheric pollution from the Biomass Power Plant on tourism previously attracted to a non-industrial area. The perception of pollution alone could be sufficient to negatively impact tourism, and the potential for this must be evaluated in a cost benefit scenario that recognises the value of tourism.

This is the first biomass power generation plant in WA, and there are reasonable grounds to predict it will expand beyond 40MW at the Diamond Mill site, fuelled from the Karri forest. Hypothetically, I am sure a similar biomass power plant proposed for the Margaret River region would cause intervention by Tourism Western Australia; the Manjimup and Pemberton region is no less important. Please reply and assure me Minister that you will bring the Public Environmental Review to the attention of Tourism Western Australia and encourage them to make a submission to the EPA by the 26 February 2008 deadline.

Yours sincerely

(download and letter)

If you wish to email or fax downloaded letter:  Email: sheila-mchale@dpc.wa.gov.au    Fax: 92136901

Please watch this space as more letters to relevant Ministers become available for your family, and advise others of www.nobiomass.com .
Please email contact@nobiomass.com to assist this campaign for safe roads, and a healthy, prosperous, clean and green Manjimup and Pemberton. The Biomass Action Group, formed on 12 January 2008, has an informal organising committee, and new helpers are very welcome.

 

POTENTIAL EXPANSION OF BIOMASS POWER GENERATION IN MANJIMUP AND PEMBERTON
 USING KARRI, JARRAH AND MARRI

...........................................................................................................................................................................

 

 Question On Notice No. 5603 asked in the Legislative Council on 13 November 2007 by Hon Paul Llewellyn

Question Directed to the: Minister for Forestry   Minister responding: Hon K.M. Chance

Question
With reference to the terms ‘forest residue’ and ‘forest waste’, I ask -
(1) What is the Forest Products Commission’s (FPC) definition of the terms -

(a) forest residue; and

(b) forest waste?

(2) Has the FPC called for tenders for the purchase -

(a) forest residue; and

(b) forest waste?

(3) If no to (2), does the FPC plan to do so?

(4) If yes to (2) or (3), what -

(a) species do the tenders cover;

(b) what amounts of each species are involved; and

(c) what is the proposed likely end use of each species?

Answer


Answered on 29 November 2007

(1a-b) The terms forest residue and forest waste have similar meanings and refer to forest products that are currently unsaleable. They can include bole wood, branches and limbs of trees, stumps and other residues of logging operations.

(2 a-b) No. 

(3) The Forest Products Commission is in the process of preparing a tender for the sale of native forest residue. 

(4)

(a) The species would be jarrah, marri and karri. 

(b) The amounts for each species are still being determined however residues would only be sourced from operations and within total harvest levels approved under the current Forest Management Plan 2004-2013.

(c) The most likely use for the residues would be as a product for the renewable energy markets. Furthermore, the residues would undergo a level of local value-adding and would not be exported to overseas markets in log form.