Doctors have described Viva Energy’s proposed gas import and storage facility in North Geelong as a folly, warning that it poses risks to the local environment and to the health of local residents, as well as fuelling more dangerous climate change.
Spokesperson for medical group Doctors for the Environment Australia, Dr Liz Bashford, says, “Every stage of the gas industry produces fugitive emissions that further damage our climate, driving more severe and frequent extreme weather such as this summer’s horrific bushfires.
“Marine ecosystems and marine life will be impacted by the dredging needed to widen and deepen the shipping channel, and the regasification of LNG involves the release of cold chlorinated seawater into the Bay. There is potential for shipping accidents and oil spills in an area close to Ramsar wetlands.
“For nearby residents, Viva’s proposal could decrease air quality and increase dust emissions, noise, vibration, lighting and heavy vehicle traffic, especially during the construction phase.
“The bitter backlash from local residents to the proposed AGL gas terminal at Western Port Bay is well-founded.
“Similarly, Viva’s proposed facility in Geelong poses risks to marine life, the nearby Ramsar-listed wetlands and tourism and fishing industries of the bay area.
“Australia has overtaken Qatar as the largest gas exporter in the world, but because of gross market failures, consideration is now being given to re-importing our own gas for domestic use.
“Victoria already produces more than enough gas for our domestic use.
“It’s patently untrue to say more gas will mean cheaper gas – our gas production is the highest ever, yet prices are also at an all-time high. It is extremely expensive both in terms of dollars and energy to liquefy and transport gas. Any gas on-sold to consumers will embed the costs of liquefication, shipping and regasification.
“Gas is not the lauded “transition fuel” – it only delays the rollout of renewables, which are already the cheapest form of new-build power.
“With plentiful supplies of sun and wind, we have an opportunity to have a post COVID-19 renewable-led recovery, which would protect our health, boost jobs and jumpstart our economy.”
News story quoting Dr Liz Bashford in the Geelong Advertiser on 7 July 2020
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