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.

 

Giant-forest-rally

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
TO:
Charles/Charlotte Blog MHA (all federal, state and/or local politicians and possible candidates).
FROM: 
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.


ACTION ONE

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.

ACTION TWO

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.

The announcement by Minister Garrett on the remaining pulp mill modules will be made on or before 5 January

The decision by Minister of the Environment, Peter Garrett, on the remaining pulp mill modules submitted by Gunns will be announced on or before Monday 5 January.

The Federal Government was surprised by the huge public opposition to the planned pulp mill when it visited northern Tasmania in November 2008. However, that is no guide as to Garrett's likely decision on the remaining modules.

TAP's analytical team has concluded that Garrett will sign off on all pulp mill modules. From past form, the government will try to limit the political fallout. This is generally done by making unpopular announcements in the holiday season, by making an anouncement late in the day and by creating some form of distraction eg. announcing some other event.

The announcement will shock and anger many in the community who believe that the government is there to represent them.

TAP is preparing a massive response for Tuesday 6 January. Get ready to take part, pass the word around at the office parties and Christmas barbeques. More details to come.

 

"Last Words: The Tamar Valley and 2009" by Peter Henning


WHAT IS IT about the Tamar Valley which has made its people, its communities, its diverse and productive businesses and its natural and man-made attractions so completely lacking in worth and value, so completely insignificant, like a newly-identified terra nullius, a kind of territorial tabula rasa, to the majority of Tasmania’s elected political “representatives”?

Court appearance for smoke flare in politician's office

Grindelwald

8th December, 2008

Dear TAP Members,

My absolute heartfelt thanks go out to all members for their unwavering support leading up to my court appearance after letting off steam (a non-hazardous smoke flare) in Michelle O’Byrne’s building back on June 5, World Environment Day.

To those who attended the proceedings today, thank you very much from the bottom of my heart and for your generous contributions to defray costs.

Unrecognised fog hazard of the planned Tamar Valley pulp mill

Dr Warwick Raverty is a pulp and paper specialist served on the Resource Planning Development Commission before Gunns' withdrew its proposal for a pulp mill.

He sent this advice (29 November 2008) about a serious but hitherto unrecognised risk from Gunns' planned pulp mill.

Premier Bartlett - give us a 'no pulp mill' for Christmas

Premier Bartlett,

 

From tomorrow, December 1st, there are twenty four sleeps before Christmas.

When you extended Gunns Sovereign Risk agreement, till today, the 30th of November, you promised a number of things:

It's not quite dead, it's only moribund.


It's the bottom line $$$$$$tupid!

Sovereign Risk and Wood Supply Agreement with Gunns - the secret history

November 30, 2008 is a key date for the status of both the $15m Sovereign Risk Agreement and the 20 year Wood Supply Agreement between the State Government, Forestry Tasmania and Gunns.

The Government has said it has drawn a "line in the sand" of no further assistance to Gunns past November 30.

However, as author Peter Henning pointed out "It is clear, of course, that the Bartlett government and the Hodgman opposition will ignore the interests of the people and communities of the Tamar Valley in whatever further legislative or regulatory action the Parliament takes on behalf of Gunns. That is a foregone conclusion, as has been consistently demonstrated in all their actions in relation to the pulp mill." See http://tasmaniantimes.com/index.php?/weblog/article/the-millstone/ for the full article.

The secret shadowy history of the Agreements below shows the rotten heart of “parliamentary democracy” in Tasmania.

Read more at Government Agreements Watch