Environmental impact assessment and environmental monitoring of Mobile User Objective System (MUOS) ground station, Kojarena WA

Julie Marlow made this Freedom of Information request to Department of Defence

The request was successful.

From: Julie Marlow

Delivered

Dear Department of Defence,
I request access to all initial environmental impact assessments undertaken by, or on behalf of, Australia and/or the US Navy for the Mobile User Objective System ground station at Kojarena WA. I also request access to all records of environmental monitoring of the MUOS installation since it commenced operation.

Yours faithfully,
Julie Marlow

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From: Hanna, Nicole MS
Department of Defence

UNCLASSIFIED

Good morning

Thank you for your email. Your email has been forwarded for consideration/action.

Someone from our office will be in contact.

Kind regards

FOI Operations
Ministerial and Information Management Branch Defence Support and Reform Group
* Department of Defence | CP1-6-001| PO Box 7910 | Canberra ACT 2610 |* (02) 6266 2210 |Email [email address]

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From: Sansom, Andrea MS
Department of Defence


Attachment Preliminary Assessment.pdf
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UNCLASSIFIED


Good afternoon
Please find attached the Preliminary Assessment of charges for your FOI request.

Regards

Andrea Sansom

Freedom of Information

CP1-6-09
Ph: 02 626 62096
Fax: 02 626 62112

Email: [email address]

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From: Julie Marlow

Delivered

Dear Ms Sansom,
Thank you for your response to my request. I will complete the 'FOI Request - Authorisation' form and return it to you by post.

Yours sincerely,

Julie Marlow

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From: Faehrmann, Bree MRS
Department of Defence


Attachment 131113 139 1314 Signed decision letter.pdf
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Attachment 04 FOI Rights of Review Internal External Review Rights Fact Sheet.pdf
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Attachment Item 1.pdf
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UNCLASSIFIED


Good morning

Please find attached your decision package for your FOI request 139 1314.


Kind Regards,

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From: Julie Marlow

Delivered

Dear Department of Defence,

Re.: FOI 139/13/14 Request for internal review
I thank DSRG staff for attending to my FOI request of 8 October 2013 and providing a copy of ‘Mobile User Objective System (MUOS), Western Australia: Initial Environmental Review’.

The received document is useful but contains only in part the information I seek. The document only contains information compiled for the Australian Department of Defence and only about environmental impacts of the construction stage of the ground station; it contains no information compiled by or for the US Navy nor about environmental impacts of an operational MUOS ground station.

I request an internal review of the Department’s decision concerning my request on the following grounds:
1) Defence’s decision on my FOI requests makes no mention of my request for relevant US documents. The US Navy made available to the government of Italy its environmental impact statement (EIS) on the MUOS ground station at the US Naval Radio Transmitter Facility, 5 km from Niscemi, Sicily, a partner-installation to the installation at Kojarena. In the US EIS, environmental impacts of both construction and operation were taken into account. This suggests that a US Navy EIS for the Kojarena ground station exists, takes operational impacts into consideration and is available to the Australian Government. I ask that my request be seen as including a request for the US EIS for the Kojarena MUOS station.
2) Given its focus is limited to the construction stage of the ground station, the received document, ‘MUOS, Western Australia: Initial Environment Review’, is by no means a complete environmental assessment. Assessment of environmental impacts is part of planning and approval processes of a technological project—no such assessment would be complete without considering impacts of the technology when in use.
3) In the second part of my FOI request, I ask for access to monitoring records of the ground station since operation. This was refused on the basis that operation had not commenced. I regret not giving more thought to my wording. However, my assumption that the ground station was operational was well-based. According to Defence Department media releases (MECC 422/07 DATED 8 November 2007 and MECC 238/08 DATED 21 July 2008), the WA MUOS ground station was scheduled to become operational in March 2010 and work was expected to start in the third quarter of 2008. No public announcement of a delay in schedule has been made. My hope is that my request can be given a more flexible reading and seen to be a request for information about anticipated and potential environmental impacts of an operational MUOS ground station.
4) A strong local movement opposing the MUOS station in Sicily on environmental grounds has attracted global media coverage. Independent scientific evaluation of the potential environmental impacts of the station has confirmed the concerns of the local people. In particular, I am aware of the 2011 report of the Politecnico di Torino’s Massimo Zucchetti and Massimo Coraddu (‘Mobile User Objective System at the Naval Radio Transmitter Facility, Niscemi: Risk Analysis’). The consternation of the local authorities is such that they have demanded that work cease on the station until further environmental research was undertaken (overridden by the Italian Government). The Australian Department of Defence is surely aware of what has occurred in Sicily and has undertaken in-house or independent reviews of the Zucchetti/Coraddu report, and/or studies of other researchers, for their relevance to the Kojarena station. I would be grateful if the import of my request could be seen to include access to any reviews of or responses to scientific studies of the MUOS ground station, Niscemi.

I am sending you a hard copy of this letter.

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address: https://www.righttoknow.org.au/request/e...

Yours faithfully,

Julie Marlow

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From: FOI
Department of Defence

UNCLASSIFIED

Good afternoon Julie

Thank you for your email.

It has been forwarded for further consideration/action.

Kind regards

Natalie Carpenter
_____________________________________________
Natalie Carpenter
Assistant Director - Freedom of Information Ministerial and Information Management Branch Defence Support and Reform Group

www.defence.gov.au/foi/

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From: Kopec, Joanne MS
Department of Defence


Attachment 131223 139 1314 IR Decision letter to applicant with enclosure SCANNED VERSION.pdf
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UNCLASSIFIED

Dear Ms Marlow
 
1.    I refer to your application for internal review, under section 54 of
the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI Act), of the decision by Mrs
Sarah Brown, Director Environmental Remediation Programs, Infrastructure
Division, Defence Support and Reform Group, to release a document to you
in regard to Item 1 of your request and to refuse you access to ‘records
of environmental monitoring of MUOS installation since it commenced
operation’ under Item 2.
 
2.    Please find attached a copy of a letter by Mr Tony Corcoran,
Assistant Secretary, Ministerial and Information Management Branch,
advising of the outcome of the internal review.  Enclosure 1 to the
letter is also attached.
 
3.    If you have any questions relating to this matter, please do not
hesitate to contact me.
 
Kind regards
 

Joanne Kopec
Executive Officer Special Adviser FOI
Ministerial & Information Management Branch
Department of Defence 

CP1-6-008 (Campbell Park)
CANBERRA ACT 2600
Ph:  02 626 64434

Fax:  02 626 62112  

 

Please note that I work part time:  Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.

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From: Julie Marlow

Delivered

Dear Ms Kopec,
Thank you for your letter and for forwarding the letter from My Tony Corcoran.

I have replied by post to Mr Corcoran, making the following request: "I would be grateful to receive clarification of your view of Item 2[of my initial FOI request]: Am I right to conclude that no risk assessment exists of environmental impacts of an operational Kojarena MUOS ground station?"

Yours sincerely,

Julie Marlow

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From: Julie Marlow

Delivered

Dear Ms Kopec,
On 7 January 2014, I wrote to Mr Tony Corcoran, PSM, Assistant Secretary, Ministerial and Information Branch, Department of Defence.

In that letter, I sought clarification of his view of Item 2 of my FOI request for environmental assessment documents relating to the MUOS ground satellite station at Kojarena, WA. My question was: "Am I right to conclude that no risk assessment exists of environmental impacts of an operational Kojarena MUOS ground station?"

Would you please advice me if the question I put to Mr Corcoran is within his remit or should I file a new FOI request.

Following is a copy of my letter to Mr Corcoran.

Yours sincerely,

Julie Marlow

"Tony Corcoran PSM
Assistant Secretary
Ministerial and Information Branch CPI-6-014
Department of Defence
Campbell Park Offices
Canberra ACT 2600

7 January 2014

Dear Mr Corcoran,
Re.: FOI 139/13/14
Thank you for your letter advising me of the result of your review of the decision on my request for access to records of assessment of the environmental impacts of the Kojarena MUOS satellite ground station at Kojarena, WA.
In relation to Item 1 of my request, you advise me that the Australian Department of Defence has not received an Environmental Impact Study of the MUOS ground station from the US Navy and suggest I enquire through the FOI process of the US Navy. I will consider doing as you suggest.
In relation to Item 2 of my request, you state that no environmental assessment of the operation of the MUOS ground station exists because the station is not operational.
I would be grateful to receive clarification of your view of Item 2: Am I right to conclude that no risk assessment exists of environmental impacts of an operational Kojarena MUOS ground station?
Yours sincerely,

Julie Marlow"

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From: Kopec, Joanne MS
Department of Defence

UNCLASSIFIED

Dear Ms Marlow

Thank you for your email.

I have spoken to the officer who was acting for Mr Corcoran during the time your email was sent in January 2014. The following response is provided for your question:

Under Item 1 of your FOI request you have previously been provided with the final report on MUOS and the initial environmental review. The review covered the environmental impacts of MUOS at Geraldton, including the implications of an operational site.

If you have any further questions please do not hesitate to contact me.

Kind regards

Joanne Kopec
Executive Officer Special Adviser FOI
Ministerial & Information Management Branch Department of Defence

CP1-6-008 (Campbell Park)
CANBERRA ACT 2600
Ph: 02 626 64434

Fax: 02 626 62112

Please note that I work part time: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.

___________________________________________________________
IMPORTANT: This e-mail remains the property of the Australian Defence Organisation and is subject to the jurisdiction of section 70 of the CRIMES ACT 1914. If you have received this e-mail in error, you are requested to contact the sender and delete the e-mail.

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paolo andreasi left an annotation ()

A summary of the assessment of health risks related to MUOS installation in Italy, performed by the Italian National Institute of Health, is available here: www.iss.it/binary/elet/cont/ICEmB_MUOS.pdf

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