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Queensland Pinkenba Ethanol Plant may use “environmental blight” – imported palm oil; cultures and lands threatened

Posted by gmarkets on 17 September, 2007

Queensland Liberal MP Tim Nicholls claimed in the Queensland Parliament on 22 August 2007 that information released to him by the Queensland government under freedom of information rules is misleading. Palm oil not ruled out: Speaking about the state government’s proposal “to build an ethanol plant only 100 metres from homes in Pinkenba”, Nicholls said: “The project has been portrayed by the state government – or certainly its promotions department – as a virtuous outcome. I want to quote from a ministerial promotional opportunity that was released under the FOI application I made. It said that the building of this ethanol plant ‘ticks all the boxes’. It said, ‘It provides environmental benefits, economic benefits and creates jobs.’ What is another feedstock for producing ethanol that is available, cheap and transportable by sea and hence to Pinkenba? The answer is palm oil. Neither the state government nor the proponent has been prepared to rule out the use of palm oil in the Pinkenba ethanol plant.”

Palm oil plantations cause irreparable harm: “I call on the government to clearly rule out approval for an ethanol plant that uses palm oil as a feedstock,” said Nicholls. “Palm oil production for the ethanol industry is an environmental blight on the landscape of Third World countries and contributes to greenhouse gas emissions across the globe. A BBC report a few weeks ago said the UN has been asked to act on this issue. A coalition of environmental groups in Indonesia has called on the United Nations to intervene in a palm oil project being planned in Borneo. The project will allocate up to 1.8 million hectares of land for palm oil plantations. The group fears the project will cause irreparable harm to Indigenous peoples’ territories and cultures.”

Fuel from plants not necessarily green: “Dateline last month also broadcast a story about palm oil production and this should have prompted the minister into immediately ruling out the use of palm oil for ethanol production. The project should not be approved if there is any chance that Pinkenba has been selected so that imported palm oil can be unloaded for use as a feedstock. I hope the minister has not been suckered into the assumption that making fuel from plants must, by definition, be green and renewable. I join the Pinkenba community and Councillor McLachlan and call on the minister to categorically rule out the use of imported palm oil to produce ethanol.”

Reference: Tim Nicholls, Member for Clayfield, Records of Proceedings, First session of the Fifty-Second Parliament, Queensland, 23 August 2007.

Erisk Net, 26/8/2007

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