Friends of the Earth Sydney
Suite 15 1st Floor 104
Bathurst Street Sydney NSW 2000.
The Jabiluka mine is being developed completely against the will of the local Aboriginal traditional owners of the land by mining company Energy Resources of Australia which is now the 3rd largest uranium mining company in the world. 40% of ERA's customers (in terms of value) are US utilities with whom it has a large number of relatively small contracts. Another 40% is with japanese customers who also own part of ERA and with whom it has large and long- term comtracts.
ERA's most recent US contract is with Baltimore Gas and Electricity from 1998 to 2003 inclusive.
That means that US groups can do something to affect what happens at Jabiluka.
We are asking two things:
International Jabiluka Action Day is sceduled for October 20. We are asking US groups if you think your utility has contracts with ERA to do some sort of protest (it doesn't need to be huge) in front of the utility's 'front door' re: Jabiluka.
If your city has an Australian consulate or embassy you could focuss an action on them. If you can't do an action you could fax them a letter of protest.
The Australian embassy in Washington is at: 1601 Massachusetts Ave NW Washington DC 20036-2273 USA. The ambassador is Andrew Peacock. The public affairs fax is 797-3414; political is 797-3027.
There is a consuate in San Francisco at
1 Bush Street
San Francisco, CA
In New York it is at
630 5th Avenue
New York NY
Any of these venues would be suitable `targets' on October 20.
Actions should of course be good-humoured and non-agressive.
The World Heritage Committee High Level Inspection Team was sceduled to arrive in Australia on October 4 to assess whether the mining of uranium at Jabiluka in Kakadu National Park would necessitate Kakadu National Park being placed on the `World Heritage in Danger' list.
Yellowstone National Park and the Everglades National Park in the US are on the `in Danger' list as is Angkor Wat the ancient city of Dubrovnik the ancient city of Jerusalem and quite a few other wonderful places.
We are asking the World Heritage Committee to place Kakadu on the `In Danger' list. To that end we are asking US groups to write to their Secretary for the Environment asking that the US representatives on the WHC vote when the World Heritage Committee meets in Kyoto in Late November/early December for the Kakadu National park to be put on the `in Danger' list.
People should also write direct to the US WHC committee reps and to Professor Francesco francioni and Berndt Von Droste the chairperson of the WHC and the director of the World Heritage Centre in Paris who can both be faxed on: +33-1-456-85570.
The US representatives on the World Heritage Copmmittee are
Mr Donald J. Barryand
Regional Director of Fish and Wildlife Parks
Department of the Interior
Mr John J. Reynolds
Pacific West Region National Parks Service
Department of the Interior
600 Harrison St
San Francisco California 94107
If anyone can discover a fax and or e-mail for these individuals or better still for the entire WHC can they send it to me at this address??
If anyone can do any of these things either for international jabiluka action Day or for the WHC assesment of Kakadu it would be striking a blow for the preservation of all the wonderful places on the planet that are threatened by the blight of uranium mining nuclear waste dumping and weapons testing so much of which takes place as it does from Kakadu to Nevada to Novaya Zemlaya on indigenous peoples land.
GUIDE TO WRITING TO THE WORLD HERITAGE COMMITTEE
Who To Write to:
Professor Francesco Francioni
World Heritage Committee
Mr Berndt Von Droste
World Heritage Centre
[.....name to be inserted....].
World Heritage Bureau
All Members of the World Heritage Committee and Bureau
Unesco 7 Place de Fontenoy
Paris France 07sp
It is best if your organisation is based in any of those countries to find out exactly who your representative is and to fax them directly or else to fax them c/o the World Heritage Centre in Paris.
If your country is represented on the Committee or on the Bureau (and especially if you are represented on the Bureau) please ask your Minister for the Environment to instruct your representatives when the commttee meets in Kyoto in November/December to discuss this matter to vote for Kakadu to be placed on the list of `World Heritage in Danger'. Benin, Ecuador, Italy, Japan, Morocco, and the US have representatives on the Bureau.
We are not giving you a `model letter' as such since we feel it is important that individualised letters be sent. However you should make the following points. More detail can be found in the long sample letter from Friends of the Earth Sydney that follows. We urge you to crib from and to use the material from this letter but do not just copy it. if you have home - grown examples you can use please do so.
Points To Make:
The value of Kakadu National Park. Most World Heritage sites are listed for either natural heritage values or for cultural heritage values. Kakadu is one of only 19 sites worldwide that are listed under both criteria. In fact Kakadu is listed under two cultural criteria and three natural criteria making it `five times' World Heritage. It isn't `merely' Word Heritage exalted as that already is. It is extra-super-special World Heritage.
The mining leasesare enclaves which have been arbitarily excised from the park but actually contain much of what makes the park World Heritage. For example the Jabiluka mining lease contains Australian Heritage Commission areas in which there are some 196 sacred art sites dating back to at least 10 000BC. Mining are adversely affecting these and makes them less accessible to the Traditional owners who are their custodians.
The cultural values of Kakadu are incorporated in a LIVING tradition dating back to time immemorial (40-60 000BC) whose living representatives are the traditional owners. The Traditional Owners feel that mining at Jabiluka will adversely affect their culture and their judgement in this matter should be regarded as decisive.
Mining will create an ultra-long lived impact from seepage and 20 million tonnes of millling waste (tailings) which will be radioactive for hundreds of millenia. Technical means to contain these for up to 300 000 years simply do not exist and even more modest targets of confinement for 1-10 000 years are doubtful.
Mining at Ranger is making an impact now with a northward- moving plume of contaminated water containing elevated levels of sulphate and uranium seeping from the tailings dam there. ERA insists that this is not significant.
In addition the visual impact of the Ranger operation is considerable.
Mining and milling at Jabiluka will create significant visual impacts in immediate proximity to areas of extremely high heritage significance.
The Australian Federal government has tried to `fast track' development of the Jabiluka project by using a level of environmental assessment that is too low (A Public Environmental Report (PER) instead of an EIS) and by commencing construction based on a previous and now obsolete EIS for a version of the project that has been vetoed by the Traditional Owners.