Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Tasmanian Media must find its courage. Leaked Gunns emails require further scrutiny.

These Emails are Genuine
(first published on Tasmanian Times 13/9/11 here)

by (Dr) Warwick Raverty, Clayton South, VIC. Former member, RPDC Panel.
13.09.11 6:42 am

Personally there is no doubt in my mind that these e-mails are genuine. There is so much agreement between the activities and dates contained in these e-mails and activities within the RPDC Assessment Panel near those dates – activities that are not even today in the public domain – that it would be virtually impossible for someone to have forged the e-mails. The e-mails make very interesting reading indeed, particularly the following sections:
‘The site selection documentation is already significantly deficient in what is required in the [RPDC] Guidelines given that a detailed assessment process did not take place.’ {NAME DELETED} from Gavin Anderson & Co to Les Baker – EmailX_1 undated.

‘Neither John Gay or myself were consulted by you in relation to the selection process so I am not asking {NAME DELETED} to retrofit anything. Both of us and the board were the main parties that weighed up the information to hand.’ Les Baker to DELETED in EmailX_2 headed ‘Site Selection’ and dated 20 April 2006.

‘I have requested DELETED submit a paper urgently for me to forward to the RPDC in relation to defending our position were we would use less than 12 months data and how this would be adequate to calibrate the TAPM [acronym for The Air Pollution Model] model. The RPDC Panel intend to meet later this week [6 June 2005] to consider this paper,…………’ Les Baker to {NAME DELETED} in Email_5

‘Another issue which is worrying me is the report that Julian [Green] foreshadowed yesterday into our submission to be able to lodge without 12 months air data………Given the CSIRO {DELETED WORD} antagonism yesterday, we must assume the report won’t do us any favours……….{DELETED NAME} can’t satisfy the verification issues as requested) allow the dark side to discredit our entire case on air quality?’ {NAME DELETED} from Gavin Anderson & Co to Les Baker in Email_6, dated 20 Dec 2005

‘I believe in the air section you are trying to fess up to something unnecessarily.’ Les Baker to {NAME DELETED}, dated 4 July 2006, Email_8.

‘Table 9.2 has dioxin concentrations for various areas around Georgetown. For God’s sake what are {NAME DELETED} trying to do, bring down two Governments plus our company.’ Les Baker to {NAME DELETED} dated 3 April 2006, Email_9.

‘I have not looked but if the Dioxin concentration chart is there it will need to go. Pls get this reworked before we send to DPIWE.’ Les Baker to Richard Fawkes, dated 6 April 2006, Email_10.

‘I still don’t know how to convey the message that this issue [NOx emissions] is real and not something cooked up. We know from Metsa-Botnia [Timo Piilonen’s former employer] that they have been reporting erroneously [i.e. falsifying data to the Finnish EPA] and all their mills are now above 1.5 [kg NO2/air dried tonne of pulp produced] (i.e. Rauma, Joutseno, Kaskinen and Aanekoski) [Pulp Mills]. We know that in Wisaforest [Pulp Mill] Andritz [Gunns proposed equipment supplier] couldn’t keep their NOx guarantee and Wisaforest is above 1.5 kg NO2/ADt. All this will become public when last years data is publicized (June?). {NAME DELETED} from Poyry in Finland to {NAME DELETED} also of Poyry dated 5 March 2006, Email_11.

‘It is suggested in this report …………that the emission limit guidelines for NOx may not be complied with. If this is the case, then a robust argument will need to be presented to the RPDC as to why it cannot be met’ [emphasis in original] {NAME DELETED} from Poyry in Finland to {NAME DELETED} also from Poyry, dated 8 March 2006, Email_12.

‘Can we suggest that the NOx values are revised so that extra energy production [electricity from the chemical recovery boiler] allows higher NOx e.g. 0.1 kgNO2/ADt for each additional 10 MW (please check figures).’ {NAME DELETED} from Poyry in Finland to {NAME DELETED} also of Poyry, dated 9 March 2006, Email_13 headed ‘Late Idea’


The evidence before me in these documents lead me to the following conclusions:

1. That the reason that Gunns were so intransigent about providing quantitative data comparing the estimated capital and operating costs of pulp mills at Long Reach and Hampshire to the RPDC was that they had never bothered to make a thorough detailed assessment of the Hampshire option.

2. That, as I suggested in a recent post, John Gay, Les Baker and the Gunns Board are primarily to blame for the decision to eliminate the Hampshire option and for the parlous predicament in which the Company now finds itself.

3. That the decision to eliminate Hampshire was not based soundly on any of the criteria required under the RPDC Act. These documents provide further support to the assertion made to me in August 2005 by a very senior (and well connected) Tasmanian public servant that, ‘Gunns see a window of opportunity to pulp native forest woodchips from the East and South of the State, while continuing to export plantation woodchips from Hampshire to pay back monies loaned to build the mill’. In one of his less guarded moments, following his unceremonious dumping as Premier, Paul Lennon admitted as much in a newspaper interview.

4. That while Gunns were spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on a ‘smoke and mirrors’ saturation media campaign claiming that the mill would be the cleanest and greenest in the world and that it met all of the RPDC Guidelines, their Finnish consultants were telling them loudly and clearly that it could not meet the Guidelines on NOx – one of the most highly irritating components of photochemical smog.

5. That there has been a consistent campaign by Gunns of hiding data on background dioxin levels from the community living in the Tamar Valley.

6. That Les Baker waged a long campaign of insisting that his underlings massage data provided by hired consultants so that key information was hidden from the RPDC and from the public.

7. That my assertions in March 2007 that John Gay did not comprehend the complexity of the project that he was contemplating are fully justified.

In closing, I wish to put on record that the RPDC did ultimately agree to Gunns submitting a draft IIS with a TAPM based on 9 months of meteorological data – AT THEIR OWN RISK. In so doing the Assessment Panel put Gunns on notice that the TAPM would have to include a full 12 months data before the RPDC would make an official recommendation to Parliament on whether or not to approve the proposal. In the end, the question became academic, because Gunns delayed submission of the draft IIS for so long that they had acquired the 12 months data by the time the document was completed.

The litany of deceit, greed and disrespect for the people of the Tamar Valley revealed in these 13 emails beggars description. It is almost certainly the tiniest tip of a very large and distasteful iceberg that only a Royal Commission will uncover. If only Tasmania had a Government with the probity and ethics to bring it on.

(Dr) Warwick Raverty

Clayton South, VIC

First published on the Tasmanian Times - here

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