The Community Bites Back at Bight Petroleum

Monday, 18 March, 2013
Sydney, Australia

IFAW (The International Fund for Animal Welfare) reports that in just the last two weeks over 18,900 people have demanded the Federal Government protect Kangaroo Island’s precious marine life from the dangers of oil and gas exploration.

Environment Minister, Tony Burke, recently decided further environmental impact assessments were required for Bight Petroleum’s plan to carry out seismic testing in the waters off Kangaroo Island, one of only three recognised feeding areas in Australia for blue whales and host to other whale and dolphin species, sea lions, sharks and tuna.  Amazingly though, the current EPBC approval system allowed Bight Petroleum to withdraw their application and simply submit a new one, rather than comply with the Minister’s request.  However, despite the system being manipulated, a staggering number of people have spoken out in solidarity with Kangaroo Island’s community, demanding the waters off the iconic island are protected from the risks of oil and gas exploration. 

Matthew Collis, Marine Campaign Manager comments: “Having previously concluded that Bight’s application needed further assessment, Minister Burke, at the very least, must uphold this decision which recognises the importance of Kangaroo Island’s unique marine life, and the tourism and fishing industries it supports. However, IFAW believes Minister Burke has good grounds to reject the proposal outright, given Bight’s failure to address his previous concerns and their disregard for the worries of the local community.  If the Government wants to present itself on the global stage as a defender of whales, they need to show credibility on this issue at home.”

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