Update on Ammonium Nitrate danger to Pilbara

Fertilizer Plants Alert – WA Ignores Texas Wake-Up Call

Monday 6 May 2013

Greens WA Member for the Mining and Pastoral Region, Robin Chapple MLC, today expressed frustration at the lack of action by the state government following last month’s tragic ammonium nitrate fertilizer plant disaster in West, Texas.

“Despite reports of more than a dozen deaths, with hundreds injured, and part of a small town flattened, my urgent call on the State government to bring an immediate halt to all ammonium nitrate facilities in WA while investigations into the causes of this explosion are undertaken has been ignored,” Mr Chapple said.

“There are just too many documented cases of explosions during processing of this inherently unstable material, for us to now just sit back and do nothing, when it could happen in my constituents’ backyards - near the Burrup Peninsula, and now with this new plant about to reach full steam ahead in Port Hedland – barely a stone’s throw from residential areas.

“There are also hundreds of workers in and around these innately risky facilities every day.

“While guarding against the awful effects of an explosion on human life must be paramount, the potential destruction of the world’s oldest petroglyph galleries, in the middle of a future World Heritage zone, should be enough to cast serious doubt on the wisdom of locating this type of plant on the Burrup.

“Who is going to pay the massive insurance premiums which should be in place to cover public liability and damage to priceless world heritage precincts?

“Clearly, no business organization would be able to afford it - the government, on behalf of the taxpayers of WA will be left to pick up the tab.

“This situation is so clearly foreseeable – it is irresponsible not to act pre-emptively.

“Let’s not wait for this to become a local tragedy – Mr Barnett, act now!” urged Mr Chapple.


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