Charcoalition Media Release – What’s an Environmental Impact Statement About?

The heavy industry charcoal factory in between Mogo / Mossy Point / Moruya proposed by Silicon Australia, will soon be consented to or refused by the New South Wales Department of Urban Affairs and Planning (DUAP). As part of their decision making process, DUAP must consider the environmental impacts of the project.

The assessment is compiled in a document called an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). This aims to bring matters to the attention of the public and the government decision maker, so that the environmental consequences of the proposed factory can be understood.

In the case of the proposed factory near Broulee, the Government agency that decides whether the project can proceed is DUAP rather than the Eurobodalla Shire Council, because the charcoal factory is part of a three-pronged development of state significance across New South Wales. The others are the open-cut quartz mine near Cowra and the Silicon Metal Smelter at Wallerawang near Lithgow, both already consented to by the State Government.

The EIS is due for release possibly around 19 November and with appendices is likely to be a very large document. Nevertheless, it should be written in easy to understand language, and contain material, which would alert lay people and specialists to problems inherent in the proposed activity.

The EIS must be exhibited for at least 30 days and made available for public comment. Anyone can make objections on the EIS and the proposed charcoal factory, these are called submissions or objections and DUAP must take public submissions and objections into account when making a decision.

A panel of specialists is waiting to examine the document. Two similar proposals at Gunnedah and Dubbo have been rejected.

Chris Kowal spokesperson for Charcoalition said “It is important for the whole community to realize that the factory proposal with its impacts for our regions in the areas of health, roads and traffic, forested catchments and tourism industry, just to name a few, will likely be substantial. Charcoalition encourages everyone in the community to take an interest and make an informed response. In that regard Charcoalition will make information available to the community to assist with responses that will address issues both raised and neglected in the EIS. The factory proposal is dependent on extracting more than double the timber volumes from our already reduced public production forests. The community needs to be aware that this issue is unlikely to be addressed in the EIS. Because of the complexity and depth of the range of issues involved with this proposal; our large non-resident ratepayer base; and the EIS being due in the lead up to Christmas and Holidays, Charcoalition believe the 30 day public exhibition will be inadequate and encourage members of the community to write to DUAP requesting an additional 60 day extension to the public exhibition”.

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