Sediment Dump on Great Barrier Reef OK'd

Opponents fear plan will damage fragile ecosystem

Jan 31, 2014
Outside Magazine

Aerial view of Great Barrier Reef    Tanya Puntti/iStockphoto

The Australian government agency that oversees the Great Barrier Reef approved a plan to expand a major coal port in Queensland by dumping 792,516,157 gallons of dredged mud on the Great Barrier Reef.

Environmentalists are infuriated, saying that the reef has already lost huge amounts of coral to storm damage and coral-eating starfish. A 2012 UNESCO report expressed concern about development along the reef and warned that the World Heritage site was at risk as being listed as "in danger," similar to the Everglades National Park in Florida.

Queensland Premier Campbell Newman told reporters that the government would protect the environment, but not at the expense of the state's economy. "We are in the coal business," he told reporters. "If you want decent hospitals, schools, and police on the beat, we all need to understand that."

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