Don't Let Big Oil Spoil Rowley Shoals

  • by: Susan Vaughan
  • recipient:  West Australian, Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism
Oil drilling now threatens Rowley Shoals, one of the most pristine marine areas on the planet. 

The Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism rolled out the red carpet to Shell and Woodside Petroleum last year, specifically highlighting Rowley’s unexplored depths in its invitation to bid for new permits in federal waters. And it did so without first allowing public comment or environmental assessment, says the Australian

Naturally the spill off Western Australia’s coast in 2009 and the US Gulf disaster have heightened safety concerns. But oil spills are not the only issue. Seismic surveying, a preliminary to off-shore drilling, has killed thousands of dolphins and whales worldwide, with impact on other marine life still uncertain.

Environment Minister Tony Burke told the Australian that under AU’s EPBC Act all such proposals are subject to assessment and public comment. Therefore AU should enforce this act.

Tell Australia, Don’t Let Big Oil Spoil Rowley Shoals.

We, the undersigned, request that your department, at the very least, uphold its EPBC Act concerning oil-drilling near Rowley Shoals.

As we understand it, the act requires that a company or person proposing an action likely to be of national environmental significance (such as off-shore oil drilling planned by Shell and Woodside Petroleum), refer their proposal/s to your department for assessment and approval before proceeding.

Furthermore we ask you to consider the obvious risks to Rowley Shoals from oil-spills as well as the latest reports on the impact to marine wildlife from sonar use in seismic surveying.

Diver and underwater cinematographer Richard Todd told the Australian that Rowley Shoals rivaled the Great Barrier and Ningaloo reefs for “diversity of coral, abundance of fish and water visibility.“ He added that any oil exploration near this area would be insanity.

Please take these concerns into consideration and allow your citizens to comment and your environmentalists to make assessments. Please don’t allow oil giants to spoil this pristine area.

Thank you for your attention to these concerns.

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