Feds going cold on windfarms (Hooray!)
Environment Minister Ian Campbell's campaign against unpopular wind farms will include a national code giving him new powers to veto any project facing community opposition. As Senator Campbell used the death of an endangered wedge-tail eagle to support claims that wind farms threatened birds, he vowed to defy threats of a constitutional challenge from Labor states to forge ahead with plans for the code. It would give him new powers to block any wind farm based on community opposition, not just on environmental grounds. Senator Campbell said he was close to securing a national agreement with the states, with the exception of Victoria and Western Australia. If he could not win their backing, he warned last night he would unilaterally extend federal powers as a "last resort". Senator Campbell last month infuriated the Victorian Government by stopping the Bald Hills wind farm project in Gippsland to "save" the endangered orange-bellied parrot. This week, he froze funding for a similar wind farm project on the south coast of Western Australia, which won state government approval but faced opposition from members of the local community. His hardline position came as it emerged yesterday that the rare wedge-tail eagle died after colliding with wind turbines at the Woolnorth Wind Farm in Tasmania's northwest in wind gusts of 140km/h. According to a report, it appears the eagle's wings were severed and the bird was decapitated by the turbines. Senator Campbell said the death sent a message to "those who sneer about me making a decision based on killing birds". "Wind farms kill birds very regularly," he said. "I think all those who snigger about environment ministers trying to protect threatened species - hopefully, this will be a bit of a wake-up call."
Some Greenies applaud Feds on windfarms
For a good part of his life, licensed surveyor Peter Mortimer has plied the waves of the pristine beaches around the idyllic West Australian town of Denmark. "It's one of those special places where you are isolated from anything man-made. It's a totally natural environment," he said. Mr Mortimer surfs one beach in the summer when the wind dies down and another, more sheltered, beach in winter when the fierce gusts blast their way over the southern Indian Ocean. Between the two beaches lies a local landmark, Wilson's Head, and it is there that a group of Denmark locals want to plant two or three turbines to harness the same strong winds. Mr Mortimer does not like the idea of having such machines, with their huge blades spinning away, overlooking him as he's trying to catch a wave. In Denmark, population 5000, it's the battle of who's greenest. Mr Mortimer say he is not against wind farms per se, he just thinks it is idiotic to put such an eyesore in one of the few spots on the state's southeast coast that has not been developed. He says that principle applies not just for locals, but for Perth types who go to Denmark to "wash away the pressures of the built environment". Mr Mortimer is outraged that the state Government overrode the views of the local council and rezoned Wilson's Head to accommodate the proposed wind farm. He is delighted that federal Environment Minister Ian Campbell has said he will block any further federal funding of the project, which received $240,000 for a feasibility study.
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