Australian Capital Territory
I am writing to object to the building of overhead powerlines in the Kosciusko National Park. The adverse environmental impact of the Snowy2 project is already significant, putting in overhead lines will make it far worse. This is pure environmental vandalism!
Kosciuszko National Park is already under incredible stress from the bushfires which decimated much of the park in 2019-20, to the advancing effects of climate change, and the increasing numbers of feral animals and plants. This area is already extremely fragile and cannot afford further destruction. Overhead transmission lines are completely unnecessary and inflict totally unnecessary permanent damage to our beloved Kosciuszko National Park.
I regularly visit Kosciuszko National Park - camping/bushwalking/fly fishing in summer and back country skiing in winter. I enjoy the peace and serenity, getting away from the city and generally immersing myself in nature. I am already concerned about the adverse impact of the Snowy2 scheme, the justification for which is marginal, and am devastated that there will be such obvious visual pollution which will further severely diminish the sense of wilderness, let along the environmental damage caused by the clearing of massive swathes of bush underneath the powerlines.
Building overhead powerlines, and clearing the native vegetation beneath the lines, will be yet another severe blow to the park. Our National Parks are getting less and less funding, with the focus increasingly on what commercial gain can be made from them (iconic/commercial walks/tracks, increase in off road cycling etc). Rather than protecting our National Parks for future generations, the proposal for overhead powerlines will permanently diminish Kosciuszko National Park purely for the short-term commercial advantage of a couple of electricity companies. This is totally unacceptable.
The last major transmission line to be constructed in a NSW National Park was in the 1970’s, more than half a century ago. We now have the technology, and environmental awareness, to do otherwise. Since 2006, the Kosciuszko National Park Plan of Management (POM) has required that any additional transmission lines in the Park be located underground as overhead transmission lines are no longer acceptable in environmentally sensitive locations such as national parks. Underground cables have less impact, last longer, and are more protected from the impact of severe weather events and bushfires and thus are a far more appropriate option.
It is outrageous that the NSW Government is looking to overturn this very reasonable policy so that TransGrid and Snowy Hydro Corporation can use a cheaper, outmoded and environmentally destructive option, ie. overhead lines. The proposed overhead lines are far more visually intrusive than any of the existing single-circuit lines in the Park, with two sets of massive 75-metre-high towers traversing eight kilometres of Kosciuszko over a cleared swathe up to 200 metres wide. The towers and lines will be visible over an astonishing 250 square kilometres of wilderness. However, even new single-circuit lines for this project are unacceptable!
I understand that one square kilometre of national park will be permanently cleared, decimating the habitat of threatened species such as Yellow bellied glider, Squirrel Glider, Eastern Pygmy Possum, Gang Gang Cockatoo, Powerful Owl, Masked Owl and the Boorolong Frog. This is totally unacceptable. If such species aren’t safe in a national park where can they possibly survive?
The Environmental Impact Statement is totally inadequate and should be withdrawn. If resubmitted it should propose an underground connection, in compliance with the POM and in keeping with world-best practice.
If the EIS is approved this NSW Government will be the first to condone overhead transmission lines in a National Park for 50 years – a tragic legacy, especially when there are viable underground alternatives.
I implore the NSW Government to abide by its environmental commitments and not commit to irreversible environmental vandalism.