Jo Faith, Newtown
I thank The Echo and letter by David Dixon (August 11) addressing deep economic concerns surrounding the proposed Byron bioenergy facility. Noted is the DA contains ‘no rigorous economic assesment’. This suggests a massive future financial blowout for ratepayers, renters and the Byron community. This project, now being researched (without public input) is to be mounted and presented to Council in early 2022 for its ‘Go/No Go’ future decision.
It is further noted that ‘$15–$20 million is being spent to reduce carbon emissions by 2,000-3,000 tonnes per year. This is a gross annual cost of at least a couple of hundred dollars per tonne of carbon abated over the lifetime of the project. This is extravagant given the current market price for carbon offsets is only $18–19 per tonne. Second, various savings and new income streams are promoted that would reduce this gross price, but no monetary values are revealed.’
Of course not. The objective? The public space is created for more circular reasoning, spin and denial of public rights. Indeed, it seems the image of ‘Byron brand vanity’ will further impact the collective subconscious. The lipstick on the pig is bound to be offset by sparkly false eyelashes that seductively blink, creating the narrative of ‘Look how ecologically sound the bioenergy project is!’
But is it? The construction and operation of the facility will severely impact Byron Wetlands, which has been a refuge for birds for decades, including migratory birds. Habitat safety is threatened. Birdwatchers can see 60–80 species of birds in as short as a four hour visit; up to 109 species have been recorded by Byron Bird Buddies who are naturally most concerned by the bioenergy proposal ‘which will inflict lasting negative pressure’.
Another omission by Byron Council is revealed: ‘Not one of the 27 paid consultants reports even mentioned this recreational value for the community and the [ital]Social Impact Report did not consider or consult with any of the birdwatching community‘ ([ital]Echo, Jan Olley, August 18).
So, let’s sum up the offensive results handed on to civil society: An economic bomb will be dropped on the Byron community in the future; The spin will be rich and creative because it addresses ‘the climate’; and the market will cash in on social/environmental fear. Supporting this will be the conscious collapse of a vital ecosystem as noted by Byron Bird Buddies. The current process supports fragmenting democratic structures and denial of public/nature rights.
We all create our societies by our own special energy… we support or deny such structures OR create new systemic structures.
The struggle continues but there is a REMEDY.
I suggest that David writes to Geoffrey Watson, The Centre for Public Integrity. RN ABC Radio is also another source for contact. The community have the opportunity to support Byron Bird Buddies by writing a submission to Byron Council, on the Bioenergy Facility.