Dr Bill Burrows says the region can support coal port developments without ruining the environment he loves.
Dr Bill Burrows says the region can support coal port developments without ruining the environment he loves. Chris Ison

Coal project won't hurt: scientist

BILL Burrows is a biologist and research scientist who lives right on the beach and loves to go fishing.

So you'd expect him to be against any coal export development at Port Alma, right?

Wrong.

Dr Burrows, 70, has studied the arguments of opponents to the proposals to ship millions of tonnes of coal from the mouth of the Fitzroy and found them flawed.

And yesterday, as he took a stroll on the beach at his beloved Emu Park, he said the proposed investments were a wonderful opportunity for the region and would have a minimal environmental impact on Keppel Bay.

"This is a great opportunity for the Capricorn Coast to get millions of dollars worth of infrastructure and investment," said Bill, who worked at the Department of Primary Industries for 40 years.

"There's going to be a well-organised campaign against development at Port Alma but I have taken time to study the arguments and it won't be anywhere near as bad as a lot of people are going to tell us it's going to be."

He said the sea in Keppel Bay was notoriously turbid and the marine wildlife thrived on murky water heavy with sediments from the Fitzroy.

"I don't see that dredging will cause harm to the wildlife or the conditions we enjoy here," he said.

As for coal dust, he said Mackay's experience provided reassurance that it wouldn't be a problem for residents on the Cap Coast.

"Mackay is 16 kilometres from the Dalrymple Bay/Hay Point coal terminals and there are no authoritative medical or resident complaints there related to dust.

"To provide perspective, Yeppoon is 50km from Balaclava Island and Keppel Sands is 28km away."

He said, in his experience, dolphins adapted readily to human activity and the flat back turtle nesting area was well away from the proposed ports.

"This has been my home for 10 years and I love it.

"I don't think it is threatened and my experience as a research scientist specialising in environmental issues leads me to this conclusion."



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