Just days after the Steve Irwin left the Kimberley coast and resumed passage to Sydney, Woodside's major partner in the proposed James Price Point gas factory, Chevron Corporation, has jumped ship on the venture.
Sea Shepherd's flagship had temporarily suspended preparations for the upcoming Antarctic whale defense campaign, Operation Zero Tolerance, and made the sea passage to Australia's northern waters. This journey was made in an effort to highlight the critical situation now faced by Antarctic humpbacks at the opposite end of their annual migration.
Chevron's departure coincides with a week-long run of actions ashore, taken by committed citizens, to keep a convoy of drilling equipment from reaching Woodside's illegal compound, in otherwise idyllic coastal lands behind James Price Point.
The equipment is intended to be used to tap Broome's groundwater, the prelude to an eventual eight billion liters of water the venture threatens to use up each year in the running of the gas factory. Once used, much of this water will become part of 30 billion liters of 'routine marine discharge' dumped into the adjacent ocean where a 52 square kilometer 'marine dead zone' will wreck one of the last few pristine marine environments remaining on this planet.
The ocean's uncontaminated state here has until now allowed a rare abundance of green, flat back, loggerhead, and hawksbill turtles, numerous species of whales and dolphins, migratory birds, fish including manta rays and sharks, dugongs, plankton, sea-grass and coral.
Fifteen activists were arrested in the actions to hold back the drilling convoy and stop the destruction of wild habitat. At this moment, people from all walks are locking their bodies onto machinery, facing mounted police and the courts, to slow this irrational tide long enough for the rest of us to see things as they really are on the Dampier Peninsula. Non-violent civil disobedience in this crisis is a show of disciplined restraint - more grease to their elbows. We trust more will join them.
Operation Kimberley Miinimbi
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