Transgrid powerline threatens ramsar wetland - once again

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Subject: Transgrid powerline threatens ramsar wetland - once again
From: "Peter Waanders" <>
Date: Fri, 19 Jul 2002 09:50:19 +0930
Hi all
Electricity company TransGrid is proposing to construct and operate an above-ground transmission line from Buronga, NSW to Monash, SA, and on to Robertstown, SA. The line will comprise 35m high towers at 500 m intervals. 40 sq meters will be cleared beneath each tower and access roads developed to service each of them. 
It is proposed that the line will go through Calperum station, part of the Bookmark Biosphere and will be constructed through portions of intact mallee and immediately adjacent to the Ramsar listed wteland within the station.
Last year, before an Environmental Impact Statement on the proposal was initiated,  I raised this issue with Birding-Aus members which resulted in a significant amount of correspondence reaching Transgrid.
Transgrid has now released its draft Environmental Impact Statement for public comment. These comments must reach Planning SA by close of business on Friday 16 August 2002. This EIS, the respoonses to it and Environment Australia's assessment of both will inform the Federal Environ,ment Minister's decision to withhold environmental approval for the Transgrid project, or to grant approval with or without conditions.
The impacts of the proposal will be, among others:
1) Many bird species using the RAMSAR-listed wetlands move between them and Australia's interior. The Transgrid EIS acknowledges the potential for increased mortatility of waterbird species. Bird strike on towers and lines is a well-know source of bird mortality globally. In 2002, Lake Merreti, immediately adjacent the proposed route, was home to over 24,000 birds, including Freckled Duck and Australian Bittern (the latter travel by night and have a higher chance of striking obstructions).
2) Other threatened or vulnerable bird species, besides resident and migratory waterfowl, use the floodplain, terrace country and mallee along the proposed route for the line. All of these areas are undergoing intensive recovery efforts through voluntary local community projects aided by Federal and State Government grants as well as other grants from many other sources. The intrusion of the proposed interconnector is likely to damage these efforts and the abilitiy of these project to achieve their aims.
Registering your views is important as they will become part of the Federal Minister's assessment of the proposal. What can you do?
1) Please write to the Honourable David Kemp, MP, Minster for the Environment, Parliament House, Canberra, ACT 2600, to ask him either to reject Transgrid's proposal on conservation and ecological sustainability grounds; or if he determines to approve the project, ensure that it is subject to conditions that it be undergrounded where it travels through environmentally sensitive areas.
2) Respond to the EIS: this can be accesssed via the following websites:
Send your comments on TransGrid's draft EIS, clearly identified as  a "public submission on the 275 kV SA-NSW Interconnector (SNI) proposal, to:
The Minister for Urban Development and Planning
Attention: Manager, Environmental Impact Assessment Branch
Planning SA 5th Floor  136 North Terrace Adelaide SA 5000.
Closing date for comments is Friday 16 August 2002.
Over the next few days I will prepare a standard response which I will make available to birding-aus members who let me know that they want it.
There are a number of good alternatives for this proposal which I will touch on in the standard response.
Your help will be appreciated.
Peter Waanders
Waikerie, SA

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