Don’t Expand Coal Terminal on Great Barrier Reef

great barrier reef

Target: Australian Environment Minister Greg Hunt

Goal: Oppose the decision to expand a coal shipping terminal next to the Great Barrier Reef.

The Great Barrier Reef and surrounding underwater wildlife habitats are in danger from a decision to extend a coal shipping terminal in nearby Canberra, Australia. Environment Minister Greg Hunt and the Australian federal government have approved the plan to expand the terminal at Abbot Point in northern Queensland, roughly 19 kilometers from the reef. This expansion will require at least 1.1 million cubic meters of sludge to be dredged, which could be catastrophic for the dolphins and dugongs of the region.

The area is also home to endangered marine life like turtles, giant manta rays, and migrating humpback whales. All of this sludge will be dumped on land as part of a requirement to protect the reef but could cause further problems for inland wildlife.

The new terminal facilities will provide for the major expansion of coal mines in Queensland, including the proposed Carmichael Mine, an $11.5 billion project that will send coal to India. This push for increased coal mining and shipping comes soon after the pivotal climate change agreement that was reached in Paris, which cited proposed revenue and job creation being as reasons to continue to endanger this already fragile ecosystem of the Great Barrier Reef.

Please sign this petition and show your condemnation for the disregard shown for this unique underwater marvel and the environment.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Minister Hunt,

The decision to allow the expansion of the coal shipping terminal at Abbot Point, Queensland will endanger the existence of the Great Barrier Reef and the surrounding marine habitats. The reef has lost over half of its coral during the past thirty years and continues to be under pressure from rising sea temperatures, water pollution and coastal development.

Any claims that the reef is sufficiently protected and guidelines that have been put in place will not be enough to protect the underwater ecology of this unique area. Any proposed increase in revenue and job creation must be weighed against the long-term effects. As you should know in your role as Environment Minister, any instance where the profit from fossil fuels takes precedence over sustaining environmental balance will lead to catastrophe. Not only is there danger of contamination from accidents either at the terminal or in the shipping lanes, but the dredging necessary for this expansion will threaten the habitats of dolphins, dugongs, manta rays, turtles and humpback whales of the region. On top of that, increasing the dependence on coal seems to run counter to the decisions reached at the monumental climate change talks in Paris.

Please, I urge you to reconsider your decision and to condemn this proposal to expand the terminal.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Sarah Ackerman

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