Wilson row over green 'alarmists'
The Environment Minister Sammy Wilson has angered green campaigners by describing their view on climate change as a "hysterical psuedo-religion".
In an article in the News Letter, Mr Wilson said he believed it occurred naturally and was not man-made.
"Resources should be used to adapt to the consequences of climate change, rather than King Canute-style vainly trying to stop it," said the minister.
Peter Doran of the Green Party said it was a "deeply irresponsible message."
Mr Wilson said he refused to "blindly accept" the need to make significant changes to the economy to stop climate change.
"The tactic used by the "green gang" is to label anyone who dares disagree with their view of climate change as some kind of nutcase who denies scientific fact," he said.
The minister said he accepted climate change can occur, but does not believe the cause has been identified.
"Reasoned debate must replace the scaremongering of the green climate alarmists."
John Woods of Friends of the Earth said Mr Wilson was "like a cigarette salesman denying that smoking causes cancer".
"Ironically, if we listen to him Northern Ireland will suffer economically as we are left behind by smarter regions who are embracing the low carbon economy of the future."
It is the latest clash between Mr Wilson and green groups since his appointment as environment minister in June.
One of the two really great projects stymied by the dark green enemies of Society. What sort of country are we living in?
I'm speechless.MEDIA RELEASEThe Hon Peter Garrett MPMinister for the Environment, Heritage and the ArtsPG /136 5 September 2008MINISTER SAYS NO TO SHOALWATER BAY RAIL & PORTEnvironment Minister Peter Garrett has acted to preserve the unique biodiversity values atShoalwater Bay north of Rockhampton in Queensland, rejecting a proposal by Waratah CoalInc. to establish a rail line and coal port in the Shoalwater Bay Training Area.The Minister has found the proposal to be "clearly unacceptable" under the EnvironmentProtection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999."This proposal would have clearly unacceptable impacts on the internationally recognisedShoalwater and Corio Bay Ramsar wetlands and the high wilderness value of Shoalwater whichis acknowledged in its Commonwealth Heritage listing," Mr Garrett said."The impacts of the rail line and port facility are simply too great to effectively mitigate, andwould destroy the ecological integrity of the area. They are impacts that cannot be reduced withoffsets or managed through approval conditions."Destruction of fragile wilderness areas cannot be reversed. As Minister for the Environment Iam required by law to protect the environment from actions on Commonwealth land."I have carefully considered the advice from my department on the broader proposal and agreethat the plan to run a rail line through Shoalwater and build a coal port in the location proposedis clearly unacceptable."I wish to make it abundantly clear that I have rejected this proposal because of the impacts theroute of the rail line and the location of the coal port would have on the environment."The Minister said that in lodging its referral proposal, Waratah Coal was advised that it shouldconsider the environmental risks associated with locating the proposed port within theShoalwater Bay Military Training Area given the recommendations of the 1994 CommonwealthCommission of Inquiry into Shoalwater Bay."This decision does not prevent an alternative proposal being lodged that does not haveunacceptable impacts on Ramsar and heritage values, for consideration under the Act. I wouldencourage Waratah Coal to consider alternative sites for the port," Mr Garrett said.Waratah Coal Inc referred the proposal to the Department of the Environment, Water, Heritageand the Arts on the 30th July this year. The referral process determines whether a proposalneeds to be assessed under the EPBC Act and if so the level of assessment required or, as inthis case, whether the action is clearly unacceptable.This is the third time a proposal has been deemed clearly unacceptable under section 74B ofthe EPBC Act.Media contact: Ben Pratt, 0419 968 734