Rockets will blast species closer to extinction
Would you agree with a commercial rocket launching facility and associated infrastructure being put in pristine, protected coastal vegetation?
Neither does the Nature Conservation Society of SA.
The NCSSA has been concerned about the location of a proposed rocket launching facility since becoming aware of it, as detailed in the Society's letter of concern.
The area, known as Whalers Way, is dedicated for conservation and is home to a number of threatened species - not the right place for an industrial development.
In June 2021, the company was granted approval to “test” the impact of noise and vibration on certain threatened species, by launching from a “temporary” pad to inform the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for a permanent facility. So far, the first 'test' ended with the rocket in flames..
The (EIS) for the proposed permanent rocket launching facility, released in August 2021 before the 'tests' had taken place, confirms the Society’s fears – it shows:
- The biggest of the two proposed permanent launch pads would be right on top of prime habitat for the threatened Southern Emu-Wren, pushing the subspecies closer to extinction
- Both the Southern Emu-Wren and Western Whipbird will be subjected to direct habitat loss through clearance as well as degradation and disturbance from repeated rocket launches which will cause stress, avoidance and fright-flight responses, and may also disrupt the breeding
- Noise from launches will inhibit the recovery of endangered Osprey and White-bellied Sea Eagle, with the EIS stating “Osprey up to 5km away may exhibit a behavioural response to launch noise”
- Whalers Way is a high bushfire risk site and the threatened Southern Emu-Wren and Western Whipbird are fire sensitive, however, details about managing bushfire risk have been kept secret from the public, with the Bushfire Management Plan having been removed from the documents on exhibition
- Habitat will be excised from the Heritage Agreement to facilitate the development.
If the company won’t even reconsider the siting of the biggest proposed permanent launch pad, the NCSSA has argued that the proposal should be refused outright under national environmental legislation in a submission provided to the federal Environment Minister.
If consideration of this proposal is to continue, the NCSSA is calling for independent review of possible locations as a key recommendation in the Society's submission to the State 'major development' assessment process, as was done for the assessment of the Kangaroo Island Timber Port.
photos: Southern Emu Wren Dion Thompson
Mother and calf Southern Right Whales in Sleaford Bay Sept 2021 @take_2_photography.ep