Don't Choke the Great Barrier Reef -- Reject Land Clearing at Kingvale Station!
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The Australian government is on the verge of approving plans to bulldoze 2,000 hectares of pristine old-growth forest in Queensland, even though the move is likely to smother the nearby Great Barrier Reef with sediment and pesticides! Tell Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg to reject this plan and save the forests – and the reef!
Agriculture magnate Scott Harris wants to flatten the ancient forests of Kingvale Station to make room for cropland and cattle ranching -- even though the millionaire has already been charged for illegal land clearing in a Great Barrier Reef catchment.
If the government approves his disastrous plan, Australia will lose an area of wilderness three times larger than Sydney and Melbourne combined. The clearing will see swathes of native eucalypt forest, melaleuca swamplands and the habitats of a number of endangered species completely destroyed.
Even worse, the project is expected to increase deadly run-off into the Great Barrier Reef, which is already struggling from coral bleaching. Without the forest to keep the soil in place, every rainstorm risks sending toxic runoff and sediment to the Reef, smothering the carbon-storing seagrass beds that endangered sea turtles and dugongs rely on for food and depriving the reef's struggling corals of the vital sunlight they need to regenerate. In fact, the government's own analysis of the project admits that "there is a high risk of increased erosion from clearing and a high risk of that sediment entering the Great Barrier Reef."
In a cruel irony, just weeks before announcing their intentions to approve the landclearing, the Australian government pledged more than $500 million to protect the reef, with a particular emphasis on improving water quality. It simply doesn't make sense for the government to immediately turn back on this promise by trading some of Australia's most valuable national treasures for the short-term gain of wealthy ranchers. If Minister Frydenberg is truly serious about saving the Great Barrier Reef, he must do his job and reject this shortsighted proposal.
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