Because of two fortuitous, impromptu encounters in Port Lincoln last week, there now exists some real hope that our Southern right whales and other endangered wildlife at Whalers Way Sanctuary (Eyre Peninsula, SA), may yet be spared the threats they currently face, should Southern Launch Space Company’s Whalers Way Orbital Launch Complex (WWOLC) receive full planning approval.
Despite Southern Launch (SL) having secured yet ‘another’ extension to launch two more rockets from Whalers Way before the end of November ‘23 and the company’s public insistence that it’s “all systems go” for the future of their ‘world class’ rocket launching facility – in truth, nothing more than a slab of concrete in an area of cleared bush – as of Tuesday this week, there might just be one very big fly in SL’s rather over-pedalled ointment.
As reported in the Port Lincoln Times (article below), a well-attended rally organised by the Eyre Peninsula Environmental Protection Alliance (EPEPA), took advantage of the timing of SA’s Bush Summit to protest very serious environmental concerns they hold over the planning process and subsequent development of WWOLC; a rocket-launching facility set to operate out of the sanctuary home of multiple endangered and threatened wildlife species.
Although the Bush Summit itself, didn’t provide an opportunity for the local community to further voice its concerns, thankfully, the presence of dignitaries staying over in Port Lincoln to attend the event, did.
In what EPEPA hopes will be something of a watershed moment, not one, but two EPEPA members, separately seized the opportunity to speak briefly and in private to high-ranking politicians.
The said authorities, responded to the evidence of corruption, collusion mis-governance and misadministration presented to them, with genuine shock and concern. A summary of information from a 200 page volume of evidence that forms the basis of EPEPA’s allegations, was supplied to the parties at the time.
Concerned that copious emails that should have been received on the matter have seemingly been intercepted, the parties mentioned gave EPEPA spokespersons a direct communication channel to contact them going forward.
The above constitutes a real breakthrough for EPEPA and conservationist groups statewide – including our own group – which have to date had little success in petitioning the government to #savewhalersway and #putspaceintherightplace.
Let’s hope that the powers spoken of here, will at long last, thoroughly investigate the unlawful procedural irregularities that have enabled this environmentally inappropriate development to progress unchecked.
It’s hardly rocket science that a heritage-listed , conservation-zoned wildlife sanctuary is no place for a rocket-launching facility.
It is high time that our State and Federal governments stepped in to uphold and enforce the our existing laws as indeed they were elected to do so. Obviously the need to identify and zone areas as suitable for rocket-launching needs to be made a priority.
In relation to Southern Launch’s reassurance that should there be any whales be in the vicinity of Whalers Way “we wouldn’t launch”, Encounter Whales South Australia wide records report whales as having been present in the surrounding waters, on every day of Southern Launch’s rocket-launching attempts so far.