Thai Turbine-Terrorist, RATCH Scores Monumental “Own Goal” during Senate’s Wind Farm Inquiry
The Australian Senate’s Inquiry into the great wind power fraud resumed on 18 May in Cairns, Far North Queensland.
One of the main topics for the day was the arrogant and high-handed misconduct of RATCH; and its efforts to ride roughshod over the rights of communities on the Atherton Tablelands – surrounding its threatened Mt Emerald wind farm. Although, given that its Thai parent is looking to ditch its Australian “asset” – as if it were a new, more virulent form of herpes – RATCH won’t be around long enough to follow through on the pending debacle:
Confirming what locals have known all along, RATCH’s goons, true to form, behaved like a band of ham-fisted prats – starting with an attempt to cover up “pre-emptive” land clearing efforts.
Mount Emerald wind farm poisoning claims aired at Senate hearing in Cairns
18 May 2015
A Senate committee hearing on wind turbines has heard claims of poisoning on the site of a proposed wind farm in far north Queensland.
About 50 Atherton Tablelands’ residents opposed to the Mount Emerald wind farm attended yesterday’s hearing in Cairns.
The Queensland Government recently approved a controversial proposal to build 63 wind turbines at Mount Emerald but the project is yet to gain federal approval.
Tablelands regional councillor Marjorie Pagani told the hearing, it appeared clearing began on the site before RATCH Australia received State Government approval for the project.
“There are poisoned tracks either side of the creek,” she said.
“It’s very clearly depicted. Cracking of the trees which is caused by poison, a stench of poison in all the waterways and if one goes outside the turbine proposed circles it’s thick, lush cypress pine vegetation and undergrowth.”
A noise specialist, Robert Thorne, told the hearing, the conditions placed on the wind farm could not be enforced.
Dr Thorne, who previously studied sound levels on Mount Emerald for the Tablelands Regional Council, told the hearing, there were flaws in the current regulation of wind farms.
“They can’t be enforced, they’re impractical, they’re ambiguous, in basis they’re unreasonable both to the wind farm operator, because it doesn’t say how long this has to work for, and the residents, because there’s no complaints process,” he said..
RATCH rejects wind farm site poisoning claims
RATCH’s Anil Nangia said it would investigate the poisoning claims but rejected the allegations.
“There’s certainly not been any poisoning or chemicals put on site that we’re aware of,” he said. “We certainly haven’t done any land clearing that we’re aware of. “The turbine site hasn’t been finalised. We’re still going through the conditions of the DA [development application] which requires us to have a 1.5 kilometre setback from the nearest residence.” He said he was confident the company could comply with any regulations. “We’re happy to work with the committee. If there is some scientific basis for new conditions we will comply with those,” he said. “We believe that there’s already been eight inquiries in the last five years into the wind farm and all of them have found that wind farms are operated under the required rules and regulations and there’s been no issues with the wind farm’s operation and maintenance.”
The Senate committee is due to report in early August.
Hmmm … it wouldn’t be the first time that RATCH’s operatives have been caught gilding the lily. One of their “best” – Nick Valentine – was caught out using a fictitious handle – Frank Bestic – in order to infiltrate RATCH’s opponents at Collector in NSW (see our posts here and here and here).
Arrogance and hubris aren’t normally seen as beneficial attributes for employees in the main; save in the wind power business, where they’re obviously essential prerequisites, as this story (also from the Cairn’s Senate hearing) proves.
Comic fail by Tableland wind farm developer
The Cairns Post
19 May 2015
THE developer of the Mt Emerald wind farm has caused outrage by tabling a cartoon that ridiculed opponents of wind turbines at a Senate hearing in Cairns – and then asked Senators to colour it in with pencils.
About 60 people – a majority residents from the Tableland – packed the public hearing yesterday morning to hear Ratch Australia questioned by the Select Committee on Wind Turbines about the regulatory governance and economic impact of the $380 million project.
The wind farm, to be built near Walkamin early next year, was granted State approval last month.
The joint venture with local property developer Port Bajool has faced stiff local opposition for about four years from residents concerned about potential adverse health and environmental effects from the turbines.
During the inquiry, Ratch Australia project development manager Joseph Hallenstein presented a First Dog on the Moon cartoon from news website Crikey that portrays the anti-wind turbine lobby as conspiracy theorists that fear wind farms could cause them to fall off horses.
“I printed out black and white copies and I thought that maybe you could get some coloured pencils from reception and colour them in later on,’’ Mr Hallenstein told the hearing.
Committee chairman, Victorian independent Senator John Madigan, said it was disappointing the developer had attacked people’s legitimate concerns about wind farms.
“It reflects quite poorly upon the company when one of their representatives engages in this sort of behaviour,” he told the Cairns Post.
“Any serious business, when there are questions about the product they are providing is causing harm, would seek to establish whether that is the case, and take reasonable precautions against it occurring.
“We have received compelling evidence, as a Committee, that there actually might be an issue with infrasound.”
Ratch Australia business development manager Anil Nangia later told reporters the company did indeed take the Senate inquiry seriously.
“The cartoon was meant to bring a bit of humour to the debate,’’ he said.
“It was not meant to show any disrespect to the Senators and it was just meant to show that this topic can be dealt in a mature way, with a bit of humour as well.
“It doesn’t need to be taken so seriously.”
The company was also questioned by the committee on whether any government subsidies it would receive from the development over its 25-year lifespan – estimated to be more than $500 million – was a good deal for taxpayers.
Mr Nangia told the hearing the funding would be spread throughout Ratch’s other properties across Australia.
Mr Canavan said the money should be spent on further studies to determine whether there were health impacts associated with wind farms.
“A few million would help fill the scientific gap,’’ he said.
What a fine piece of advocacy from RATCH’s Joseph Hallenstein!
His efforts at ‘persuasion’ went down like the Hindenberg – suddenly and in a fiery mess: “gormless”, doesn’t quite cover it.
One of the general rules of pitching a case is to know as much about your intended audience as possible, before clearing your throat and launching off on your mission to convince them of the merits of your argument.
Had Hallenstein bothered to do even a little rudimentary homework, he would have noted the attitude of the Senators to the wholly unnecessary adverse health impacts being suffered by wind farm neighbours going into the hearing. He would have noticed comments in the mainstream press by the likes of SA Senator, Bob Day describing the moving evidence given at Portland by Pac Hydro’s victims as “harrowing”:
Not that it matters much, given what the Senators have already heard, and the hundreds of submissions made to like effect, but the efforts of the clowns from RATCH have only served to stiffen the Senators’ resolve to smack into the systematic regulatory failure and insidious institutional corruption at every level of government.
STT’s happy to call it an “own goal” – and to thank RATCH for putting forward people that can only serve to reinforce what STT followers have long ago concluded, about the stench that pervades an “industry” that’s rotten to its subsidy-soaked core.