Doubts cast on Chaelundi EIS
By David Brazil
SYDNEY — The Chaelundi court battle is still unresolved, but it has already caused severe embarrassment for the state government. The court has been told that the Greiner-Murray cabinet gave the go-ahead to logging operations against the advice of the National Parks and Wildlife Service. In addition, more doubts have been raised over the environmental impact statement (EIS) prepared for the Forestry Commission.
In a special report to the minister for the environment, Tim Moore, NPWS strongly recommended an interim injunction against the Forestry Commission operations in three areas on the NSW north coast. The report described Chaelundi as an area of "great significance", with one of the highest concentrations of arboreal mammals in the country.
This report formed the basis for Moore's August 6 submission to state cabinet calling for a six-month interim protection order. This was rejected by Greiner in favour of different information in the EIS. Greiner put his support firmly behind the Chaelundi EIS, saying "the Forestry Commission has, on any estimation, properly met all that was required of it prior to logging".
A spokesperson for an environment group told Green Left this week information he had received from within the company which prepared the EIS cast strong doubts on its credibility. He claimed the hastily prepared special three compartment EIS for Chaelundi was a "desk job". "No field studies were carried out, data was fabricated, and information on wildlife densities had no basis in reality."
The action in the Land and Environment Court brought by John Corkill of the North East Forest Alliance continues this week.