New South Wales
1. History: environmental and cultural settings have changed dramatically since the heady post-WW2 days of the original Snowy Mountains scheme. The warming climate makes the National Park much more vulnerable to drought and fire, whilst also increasing the importance of mountain soils and ground water reserves to feed rivers. From a cultural perspective, greatly increased populations in SE Australia are putting ever greater pressure on the National Park for recreation and access to natural landscapes. For these reasons alone Snowy 2 is unrealistic and should not proceed.
2. Landscape values: visual catchment issues must be considered. Power lines, earthworks, dumped excavated materials, new roads, modified existing roads, lake shoreline variations and works depots will all compromise the visual amenity of the National Park. Heavy trucks will be moving spoil around, damaging peaceful tranquility and habitat. These impacts are not acceptable in a National Park. This is not the place for such brutal works.
3. Emissions: while hydro is an important renewable resource, what account is taken of the emissions from construction, including drilling, earth and rock movement, vehicle trips? and from fossil fuel pumping of water?
4. Pest control: what measures will be in place for pest control including weeds, aquatic weeds and feral animals, should the scheme proceed?
5. Alternatives: what assessment has been made for renewable energy alternatives? Any major project with defined aims ie in this case, to provide significant renewable energy in SE Australia, must be approached with a thorough scoping of a range of options, not simply by doggedly sticking to one apparently glamorous scheme. Designing on the run is a terrible way to run any project, let alone a hugely ambitious and costly one in a sensitive area which is a National Park, set aside for the benefit of nature not economic expansion;
6. Aboriginal history: the mountains are the setting for ancient ceremonies and meetings. What account has been taken of Aboriginal sensitivities in the Mountains; has there been any consultation with appropriate custodians and peoples from surrounding lands? Aboriginal wisdom must be integrated into any proposals for this special area should the scheme proceed.
7. Walkers, cyclists, runners, bush carers, bird watchers, students , fishing folk, skiers, artists, ecologists and many other user groups highly value the National Park as an unique environment where they can withdraw into a natural world from the maelstrom of urban activity and rural farming life. It is a tiny area compared to Australia's wide continental landmass. The National Park should not be any further violated. It is far more important to restore this landscape from the scars of the original Snowy Scheme and more recently from the excess of horses ruining natural water sources and rare vegetation. Public money supported the Soil Conservation Service efforts to recover the high ground from grazing . It is shameful to see a cycle of degradation happening all over again in the clear knowledge of the environmental impacts.
8. Snowy 2 is a wild and unreasonable scheme. The collateral damage to the National Park should be seen as offsetting any benefits to be gained from this allegedly renewable energy scheme. Many opportunities exist for renewable energy generation. Using Snowy Mountains water, such a precious resource in the driest continent on earth, should not be one of them. The project should not proceed.