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The power station EIS is out

By johnboy - 17 November 2008 55

The long awaited Environmental Impact Statement on the “Canberra Technology City”, otherwise known as the power station, is now online.

Very curiously it has its own .com.au domain rather being hosted by, say, a Government department.

If the summary actually makes recommendations I’m yet to find them.

The ABC reckons the EIS is a great big green light, promising that all the issues can be managed.

Over to you readers.

What’s Your opinion?


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55 Responses to
The power station EIS is out
caf 3:14 pm 17 Nov 08

sepi: Doesn’t the government rebate encourage replacing those wood fires with gas heaters? You know, the same gas the power turbines would be running on? (I’m reasonably sure they weren’t planning a wood-fired power station…)

Swaggie 2:17 pm 17 Nov 08

Thankfully it’s dead in the water now with the Greens and Libs dead set against it. An EIS is not normally worth the paper it’s written on and this just proves the point.

sepi 1:30 pm 17 Nov 08

I know – the govt has a rebate to get rid of wood fires from the Tuggers area because smoke sits in the valley affecting air quality, but for some reason power plant fumes won’t matter.

Nice to know they are worried for the poor planes though…

miz 1:02 pm 17 Nov 08

I note that planes are of more concern than residents. The air quality section of the EIS says that the pollutant plume will get ‘dispersed’ over the Tuggeranong valley (south and west of the data centre site) through the afternoon and overnight. This apparently is a ‘good thing’, as planes on the flight path are not affected. Gee, thanks.

And no mention of the inversion layer phenomenon, as far as I can tell.

AG Canberra 1:01 pm 17 Nov 08

Nope – still can’t find any information on the water use. If anyone spots it can you let me know?….

And if it’s not there then surely that would make the whole document a joke. How can any EIS be done without clearly spelling out the water implications?

housebound 12:42 pm 17 Nov 08

The recommendations aka ‘mitigation measures’ at:
http://ctceis.com.au/document/show/143

(ABC and CT don’t always do a good job of reading through these things themselves, but seem to prefer to regurgitate spin and counterspin)

I was surprised to read that this independent EIS made claims like this:
Environmental mitigation measures (safeguards) outlined in this document would be incorporated into the detailed design phase of the project and as part of its construction and operation. These safeguards would minimise any potential adverse impacts arising from the proposed works on the surrounding environment.

‘Would’ suggests that they aren’t too sure. More appropriate would be ‘will’, to justify GHD’s confidence in how clean and green this project is, or ‘should’ to show it really is a recommendation rather than a mere hope.

This is my personal favourite:
The following mitigation measures would be implemented as required by the ACT Heritage Act:
– Any place or object of heritage significance identified during the construction period should be notified to the ACT Heritage Council and professional advice sought. In such instances, work in the vicinity of the site would cease until such a time that appropriate steps can be taken to ensure the heritage values are maintained; and
– The contractor would be made aware of the nearby heritage items particularly Callum Brae, which is in the vicinity of the proposed gas pipeline corridor.

I hope they didn’t pay too much to have the requirements of the Heritage Act restated to them.

And after the short native veg chapter saying there weren’t any tree hollows because the trees weren’t old enough (http://ctceis.com.au/document/show/86), they say that:
Removal of any hollow bearing trees should be conducted outside the breeding season of arboreal species, bats and other fauna (breeding generally August to January);

miz 12:30 pm 17 Nov 08

ABC says “the EIS says homes in some proposed residential areas might be able to see the facility but notes that the surrounding area has been identified for future industrial development so the project would not be an isolated development.”

But this is even more reason why the buffer broadacre land area there should remain untouched and undeveloped. How rude to say that because there will be more industry nearby, you should stop complaining about the one just over your back fence!

Don’t forget, this EIS has been severely constrained by the fact that they eliminated the HIA (which was to explore polluting particles of differing sizes and health impacts).

Canberrans who currently live near reserves and/or broadacre (which they might incorrectly think is reserve, as many locals here did) should be afraid right about now. While I am expecting that the development will not be able to go ahead for a considerable amount of time due to legal proceedings, this EIS says a lot about the ‘bush capital’ – well, the one Stanhope THINKS we live in – it says, let’s sign away our amenity for the bucks. Just another aspect of ‘selling off the furniture’.

housebound 11:39 am 17 Nov 08

I take back the ‘you’ll never see it’ accusation and apologise now.

It’s a stock-standard, comprehensive EIS (no surprise there). But AG’s comment made me look for the water use impacts, and I couldn’t find them.

Maybe I missed it, but how much water will this facility use and how much will be recycled/non-potable? The executive summary is so superficial it is not worth the few minutes it would take to read it. The conclusions have a lot more.

There’s also a lot of typos, but that’s probably because of consultants not reading their own work under pressure of time.

I can find lots about why the project is needed and how good it will be for the ACT economy. Socio-economic impacts are a valid component of an EIS if you define the environment to include people. But the purpose of an EIS is to counterbalance the emphasis put on socio-ECONOMIC benefits by governments wanting to push a particular project. While the content might be accurate, and a consideration of the impact on property values was probably needed, the claims about employment etc that sound very similar to government spin won’t help the apperance of this being an objective assessment. Don’t laugh – it’s meant to be objective.

The most likely enironment impact – on the local native plants/animals – appears to be a non-issue because it is a weed-infested patch of horse paddack, with a few old trees that would offer shade to the local kangaroos, if the beasties jumped the fences put in to protect the trees from horse-damage.

Jonathon Reynolds 11:20 am 17 Nov 08

The actual EIS document is tucked away here:
http://ctceis.com.au/document/index/1

Interestingly the aborted HIA process has not fed in to the EIS as was originally indicated would occur:

From Section 17 Socio-economic assessment:

Separate consideration of potential health impacts has been requested and undertaken by the ACT Government (ACT Health) in the form a Health Impact Assessment (HIA). At the time of writing this chapter, the HIA has not been finalised and has not been made available to GHD.

Relevant matters considered in the HIA and matters advised by ACT Health have been considered in this EIS. The Minister for Planning nevertheless has the power to consider the EIS and the HIA may be referred to the Minister for additional consideration in parallel with the EIS. GHD has reviewed submissions made by the general public, Australian Institute of Architects (Canberra Chapter) and the community based organisation Canberrans for Power Station Relocation Inc that responded to both the HIA consultation process and the original and altered development application and preliminary assessment.

And on page 156:

A separate health impact assessment has been conducted on the CTC project by the Department of Health; the findings of this assessment were not available as this EIS was being prepared. They will be taken into account separately by the Minister in his/her evaluation of this assessment.

So the relevant minister(s) are going to be making decisions on the EIS in relation to a separate HIA report that doesn’t exist because they aborted the process in the first place. The whole process just gets more farcical the more it goes on!

caf 11:03 am 17 Nov 08

Skidbladnir: Check out the table of contents of the EIS – it includes chapters ranging from “Flora and fauna” through “Indigenous heritage”, “Air quality” and “Hazards, risks and public safety” through to such prosaic issues as “Traffic, access and parking”.

Sammy 10:55 am 17 Nov 08

The website is associated with this mob.

caf 10:55 am 17 Nov 08

So much for those conspiracy theories that the EIS would be buried…

AG Canberra 10:27 am 17 Nov 08

“The CTC will have minimal impact on the existing power grid, as it will be powered primarily by the co-generation facility.”

This is completely different to what was proposed and told directly to me at two of the community information meetings. We were told that the gas generated power would only be used during times of peak load – and that normal grid power would be used at all other times. The gas would also be used as the UPS during black outs etc…

Also – no mention of the water use for the power plant – if we can find water for this (and footy grounds at gaols) then we can find water for our community ovals.

Skidbladnir 10:25 am 17 Nov 08

Wierd.
Even though the EIS was crafted by GHD at the request of the Minister, they’ve subcontracted out the domain, content, and hosting arrangements for the site to a sole trader, who seems to be best known to Google for his cricket performance.

Whois response for ctceis.com.au:

Domain Name: ctceis.com.au
Last Modified: 14-Nov-2008 06:25:57 UTC
Registrar ID: Aust Domains
Registrar Name: Aust Domains
Status: ok
Registrant: REDDY, KARTHIK
Registrant ID: ABN 97256973803
Eligibility Type: Sole Trader
Eligibility Name: thinksys
Eligibility ID: ABN 97256973803
Registrant Contact Name: Karthik Reddy
Registrant Contact Email: karthik@thinksys.com.au
Tech Contact Name: Karthik Reddy

But that ABN was originally registered to a Karthik Guddireddigari, anyone with the time or inclination want to find out more about him?

Skidbladnir 10:10 am 17 Nov 08

So, do we actually get a Health Impact Statement, or do we only care about the impact on native grasses?

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