Is this our canary in the coal mine?
5 March 2014
Q: What’s white bottomed and sweet as a button and will not take well to an Indian coal giant clearing its home as part of exploration works for Australia’s biggest black coal mine?
© Ian Montgomery birdway.com.au
A: The Black –Throated Finch (Southern).
This little fellow is one of 44 birds currently listed as ‘endangered’ in Australia under federal environment legislation.
Unfortunately Indian conglomerate Adani, which is rapidly gathering a reputation as an environmental vandal in its home country and Australia, has thumbed its nose at our environment laws at the finch’s expense.
The company has failed to refer proposed exploration work at the Carmichael mine site to the Federal Environment Department for assessment of its impact on the finch.
Greenpeace’s expert scientific advice is clear that the exploration work has the potential to have a significant impact on the endangered bird.
This is not surprising when you consider it will involve slashing undergrowth vegetation and removing trees under 30 centre metres in diameter, along strips that are 4.5 metres wide across a total of 3899 hectares of important habitat.
Full research briefing on the finch and the Carmichael mine here.
This finch is the canary in the coal mine.
The threats to it are symbolic of the absurdity of the whole development.
Why is the federal government turning a blind eye to real threats to an endangered bird for the sake of a coal mine which may well never go ahead?
Coal from the Carmichael mine in Queensland’s remote Galilee Basin will be sent to India, nourishing an appetite for fossil fuels at a time when climate change is our greatest threat.
To get the coal from the mine to port a new railway line will be built across farmland and floodplains.
The Carmichael mine is a driver behind Minister Hunt’s approval in December of the highly contentious ‘Terminal Zero’ port development at Abbot Point.
This Abbot Point expansion will demand the dredging and dumping of 3-million cubic metres of seabed in the World Heritage listed Great Barrier Reef.
What adds insult to injury, particularly for the finch, is that recent economic analysis* shows the mine may well be commercially unviable.