Uranium approval signifies a complete failure of the EPA, say WA Greens
Date:Tuesday, May 22, 2012
Following Monday’s announcement that the EPA has approved uranium mining in Wiluna, a closer examination of the EPA’s 109-page report proves depressing reading, says WA Green Spokesperson for Water, Alison Xamon.
“The EPA’s report is a bleak litany of backside-covering, fancy footwork and caveats,” Ms Xamon said.
“Its recommendations are carefully couched in language designed to absolve it of any responsibility when the balloon goes up – as it will.
“For example, below is a quote from the EPA’s approval report, describing its approval of tailings dams (TSF) to hold uranium waste that will be radioactive for tens of thousands of years:
“The Department of Mines and Petroleum (DMP) has reviewed the modelling and proposed design of the TSF and advised the EPA that the ‘proposed TSF can be constructed and operated to contain tailings and limit leaching of radionuclides over the long term’.
The EPA considers that, on the advice of the DMP, the proposed TSF can be constructed and operated in a manner that would ensure the potential risk to groundwater quality is environmentally acceptable. (underlining added)
“And more of the same in relation to mine closure and rehabilitation:
Based on the design, monitoring and maintenance information provided by the proponent and the advice provided by the DMP, the EPA is satisfied that the TSF can be operated and managed in a safe and secure manner, and can be adequately regulated by the DMP and the Radiological Council. (underlining added).
“The only conclusion to be drawn from this report is that it has relied almost entirely on the analyses done by the Department of Mines and Petroleum and the proponent, Toro Energy.
“Not surprisingly, the advice provided by these two bodies is that uranium mining is ‘safe’, ‘secure’ and ‘environmentally acceptable’.
“Once again, the EPA has comprehensively failed in its role as an independent regulatory body.
“And unfortunately it is the people of Western Australia who are the ones that will ultimately pay the price.”