Image for The failure of the Environmental Protection Authority

Dear Editor,

Back in March this year, 16th and 17th, Northern and North-Eastern Tas got smoked out - big time, again.

Immediately, planned burns in Vic, at Colac, were cited on local ABC radio, then Warren Jones came out and said it was ‘confirmed’ as from burns in E Gippsland.

This was prominently displayed on the EPA website.  I recall that it was said that the EPA was investigating. 

Nothing happened.

You might recall Tasmanian Times published an article from me called The Smoking Gun, HERE, which included a satellite photo clearly showing a trail of smoke stretching from the Mole Creek region eastwards across the island - almost as far as the East Coast. 

Still there was silence from the EPA - meanwhile Warren Jones’ ‘Gippsland Explanation’ was left up on the EPA homepage. 

After more than two weeks, I assembled all the evidence at my disposal and submitted it to the EPA - you can see it further below. 

What gets me, Dear Editor, is that now - 2 months after the event - there is yet no public EPA report on how this smokeout occurred. 

I have not had an acknowledgement/response to what I consider was a well-set-out and properly referenced complaint.  I am far from happy with my failure to be acknowledged and with the general failure of the EPA to have produced a report on the matter. 

In the attached photo, looking north west over the Tamar at Launceston, you can see the bank of smoke moving from the south/west of Launceston on 16th Mar before settling in the north-east by the next morning, 17th Mar. 

Yet Warren Jones had claimed the smoke that was lying in every gully and fold of the NE had come from Victoria.  Pigs’ Trotters!  The truth is being much delayed.  Can anyone help?

Garry Stannus,
Liffey

image
*Warren Jones

[Sunday 16 May 2010]
Board/EPA


As far as my records show, my message to you, at the beginning of April and regarding the smoke event in Northern Tas, around St Patrick’s Day, has not been acknowledged.  I have had no response at all from the EPA regarding my communication to the Board/EPA.
I am including it again, below.

Yours faithfully,
Garry Stannus.


2 Apr 2010

To the Board of the EPA Tasmania:

I’m writing to the Board about the smoke that we experienced in the north of the state, on Tue 16th and Wed 17th of March. 

I heard on ABC radio news on the Wednesday, that the smoke we experienced in the NE was from a burn in Colac, Vic and then later in the day I heard again on the radio that Warren Jones had ‘confirmed’ that the smoke was from East Gippsland.  On the EPA website Mr Jones is quoted as saying that

“satellite photographs had revealed several large plumes of smoke over an extensive area from St Helens and the Fingal Valley to Launceston, the Tamar Valley and as far west as Ulverstone on Wednesday.  The plumes have spread across the north of the state and appear to stem from the 90 Mile Beach area of East Gippsland in Victoria where a number of planned burns are in progress,”

HOWEVER:
The following satellite image Tue 6:59pm ...
http://www.marine.csiro.au/remotesensing/MODIS/TRUECOLOUR/
Aqua20100316T042846Z20100316T044248Z.Tasmania_500m.HKM.jpg
... shows:

1 twin smoke streams drifting eastwards across Bass Strait towards Banks Strait, from 2 sources between Stanley & Sisters Beach -
2 two smoke streams drifting NE from an area – possibly Guildford
3 A cloud of smoke NE of Triabunna towards Coles Bay
4 A stream of smoke from the Mole Creek area which stretches eastwards into the Fingal Valley.

Warren Jones’s statement appears to ignore the evidence of domestic smoke across northern Tasmania the evening before.  Through the ‘Tasmanian Times’ I have read accounts at variance with his scenario.  In addition to reading that anecdotal evidence, I have myself compiled a variety of evidence which indicates that the smoke complained about, was domestic in origin.  A large part of this I published in Tasmanian Times.  Here are links to those and other relevant documents.

No Comment /John Hawkins                                   16/03/2010
http://tasmaniantimes.com/index.php?/weblog/article/no-comment/

Forestry burns Tasmania ... and Labor /Tim Morris, Angelika Allen, Clive Stott, Phil Lohrey, John Hawkins.                                    18/03/2010
http://tasmaniantimes.com/index.php?/weblog/article/forestry-burns-labor/

SmokeWednesday.pdf /Garry Stannus                 22/03/2010
http://tasmaniantimes.com/images/uploads/SmokeWednesday.pdf

Smoke over Chudleigh /John Hawkins                 23/03/2010
http://tasmaniantimes.com/index.php?/weblog/article/smoke-over-chudleigh/

The Smoking Gun /Garry Stannus                             27/03/2010
http://tasmaniantimes.com/index.php?/weblog/article/the-smoking-gun/

stannusSentinel_for_TT.doc /Garry Stannus Family             27/03/2010
http://tasmaniantimes.com/images/uploads/stannusSentinel_for_TT.doc

The Smoking Gun: Who gave the orders?  /John Hawkins       29/03/2010
http://tasmaniantimes.com/index.php?/weblog/article/john-hawk/

I am requesting that the EPA, if not already doing so, investigate the smoke in the north on those days in question and that it take into account the evidence* that is contained within the various links above. 

I would like the EPA to give a full account of any fires that were burning in the state during that period, and that reference be made to times, directions of smoke trails and altitudes and to those responsible.

I request that the News Article on the EPA website, “Smoke from Victoria affecting Tasmania”, be removed immediately and that it be replaced with a note explaining that the EPA is now investigating advice from the community that the smoke on Tue 16th and Wed 17th of March was of local origin.

In conclusion, I would like to know what measures the EPA has taken so far to ensure that such a situation does not recur.

Your faithfully,
Garry Stannus

*evidence:  included in links
-anecdotal in comments on Tasmanian Times
-photos taken in a number of locations
-satellite images
-analysis of weather patterns and wind directions
-Sentinel images showing Tasmanian hotspots

*Warren Jones picture; Read all about the EPA: HERE