More than 1,500 rare animals on the Barrow Island Nature Reserve in Western Australia have been trampled or otherwise killed by Chevron's massive Gorgon natural gas project. The Sunday Times of Australia cited the numbers from a Freedom of Information Act Request. The California-based oil company is leading a fossil fuel frenzy on the other side of the world and profiting on the backs of sea turtles, wallabies and bandicoots. Yes U.S. media ingratiated to corporations refuse to cover this story!
Threatened animals suffer for gas project by: Narelle
Towie Environment Reporter
From: The Sunday Times
05, 2011 5:00PM
NATIVE animals are being killed almost daily on Barrow
Island by workers on the controversial Gorgon gas project.
Documents obtained under Freedom of Information reveal
"specially protected" species on the nature reserve off the Pilbara
coast are being mown down, sometimes several in a day, as workers move about
More than 1550 animal deaths have been recorded since
construction began on Chevron's $43 billion Gorgon liquefied natural gas
project in September 2009. Documents show that to July 2011, 377 of them were
listed as threatened or vulnerable species and protected under state and
The maximum fine for killing or taking a specially protected
animal is $10,000, but the Department of Environment and Conservation says no
fines have been issued for the deaths because they were accidental.
Chevron says that some of the 1558 recorded animal deaths
were due to natural causes.
An exhaustive review of hundreds of fauna event reports by The
Sunday Times showed that 193 priority-listed animals were killed from
January to July as a result of the project.
At least 150 Barrow Island golden bandicoots, 30 Barrow
Island spectacled hare-wallabies, three wallaroos and 10 boodies lost their
lives in that period, with 65 fatalities occurring in May alone.
The reports reveal how workers have wiped out more than a
dozen animals by stepping on them. Other animals have become trapped in
pits or stuck between pipes, and some were crushed during land clearing.
Injured or orphaned animals are euthanised by trained fauna
handlers, sometimes using "blunt trauma", the reports say.
The threatened golden bandicoot is the worst affected
species, often hit by vehicles after dark or at dawn.
A Chevron spokesman said rigorous processes were in place to
minimise animal deaths and the company takes all practicable measures to
minimise and prevent incidents involving local fauna.
"We have a range of measures in place to limit the
impact of construction activities on the environment, including lowering speed
limits to 40km/h during dusk and dawn when the animals are most active and
using extra buses to transport workers to and from work sites to reduce the
number of light vehicles," the spokesman said.
But the company could not say if reducing speed limits in a
fauna casualty "hot spot" had made any difference to the number of
animals being hit by cars.
Meanwhile, the DEC said the island is home to a thriving
population of 60,000 bandicoots, 5000 boodies, and up to 10,000 wallabies.
Greens MP Robin Chapple said part of the problem is that the
island's animals are not afraid of humans.
"This level of accident is just obscene and is one of
the main reasons why the Environmental Protection Authority said Chevron
shouldn't take their Gorgon gas facility to the island," Mr Chapple said.
Independent environmental regulator, the EPA, twice rejected
Barrow Island as a suitable site for the gas project because of the island's
"very high and unique conservation and environmental values".
In an April 2009 report, the EPA wrote: "That it
previously advised that due to the very high environmental and unique conservation
values of Barrow Island it held the view that, as a matter of
principle,industry should not be located on a nature reserve and specifically
not on Barrow Island."
In June 2010, The Sunday Times revealed that a
endangered juvenile hawksbill turtle was sucked into equipment during dredging
to deepen the port.
While few sea turtles have been killed as a result of the
project, internal DEC documents note that: "usually only a percentage of
actual turtle events will be detected when using overflow screens and that this
may be as low as 20 per cent of turtle mortalities."
Chevron said that it does not consider the killing of
animals an acceptable consequence of the process and that it has introduced
vehicle monitoring systems, fauna exclusion fencing, fauna exit ramps in
trenches and regular inspections, as well as ongoing education and awareness
initiatives with contractors.
The spokesman said that the project, which takes up 1.3 per
cent of the island, was deliberately situated to avoid areas of
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