Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Anti social project

80 people packed the Felton Hall last night for a meeting on the social impact of the so-called Felton Clean Coal Project with Ambre Energy and their supposedly 'independent' consultants Worley Parsons. Ambre kicked things off with an update on their plans. Under questioning from the floor, a few gems emerged. Having mentioned waste water from Toowoomba as a possible source of water, Ambre were force to admit they had no arrangement with Toowoomba Regional Council, nor were they in negotiations. Having mentioned social benefits from the project, Ambre were asked what they might be. They replied that the project would bring 'a different type of people' into the area.

Ambre were questioned about the impact of their project on water bores in the surrounding area, and what would happen if they dried up. They spoke of 'make good' agreements to supply water if this happened. They gave no details of the practicalities of this suggestion, given there are hundreds of shallow bores in the area.

An element of farce was introduced to proceedings when the facilitator of the Ambre Energy Community Liason Group attempted to explain why the identity of the members of the liason group was confidential.

Worley Parsons took the floor to survey the group on our social impact concerns.This was a most unsatisfactory process for all present, as Ambre fielded most of the questions. The meeting was alarmed to learn that the speaker from Worley Parsons was an expert in 'resettlement'. When questioned, he refused to rule out resettlement at Felton.

The following statement was read out on behalf of FOF, the document was passed around for signatures and handed to Worley Parsons as a formal statement of Friends of Felton's position -

FOF is implacably opposed to the project and find any mitigation strategies to be totally and absolutely unacceptable. FOF considers Ambre’s proposal to be environmentally and socially unacceptable and will not rest until it is formally rejected by the QLD government.

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