National environment group Friends of the Earth have criticised a deal struck between Environment Minister Greg Hunt and fringe cross-bench senators to regulate the wind energy sector.
“The commitments made by Minister Hunt in this deal kowtows to anti-wind interests and will add fuel to the scare campaign against wind energy,” said Leigh Ewbank, Friends of the Earth’s renewable energy spokesperson.
“It’s astonishing that the minister responsible for our national response to climate change is complicit in efforts to demonise wind farms.”
The leaked deal between the government and crossbenchers such as Senator David Leyonhjelm proposes to establish a national “wind farm commissioner,” an “independent advisor on wind farm sound,” and to respond to the senate wind inquiry in “good faith.”
Reviews by credible health bodies have found wind farms do not directly cause health impacts.
“The NHMRC, Victorian Department of Health, and Australian Medical Association have already given wind energy a clean bill of health,” said Ewbank.
“The public health impacts of coal are well-documented, yet the Abbott government is proposing to regulate clean and safe wind energy on health grounds. It’s the stuff of satire.”
“The proposed regulatory regime for wind energy is simply a waste of taxpayer dollars. It will cost Australia thousands of jobs and stall billions worth of investment.”
Friends of the Earth, who have been closely tracking the senate inquiry into wind energy, say the the deal will block the government into taking an anti-wind witch hunt seriously.
“Senator Leyonhjelm’s wind energy inquiry is nothing but a witch hunt,” added Leigh Ewbank.
“The government can promise to take the senate wind inquiry seriously, yet the community will reject it. The inquiry is failing to compare wind energy to fossil fuels, or consider its contribution to job creation and tackling global warming.”
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