Protecting Wilderness and National Parks

New Cloud Seeding Legislation could put a dampener on the snow season

“The NSW Government's plans to double the scale of the cloud seeding experiment in Kosciuszko National Park may cause more rain at the Mount Selwyn resort and kill off the endangered mountain pygmy possums. Legislation introduced by Steve Whan into the NSW Parliament last week seeks to extend the cloud seeding experiment into marginal snow areas where it is more likely to make rain, not snow,” warned Keith Muir director of the Colong Foundation for Wilderness.

“Cloud seeding can alter patterns of snow and rain, but it can't do anything about temperature. Temperatures are going up and the snow line must continue to rise in response to climate change. Snow dependent animals like the Mountain Pygmy Possum could freeze to death when rain produced by cloud seeding washes away the insulating winter blanket of snow in marginal snow areas”, he said.

“It appears that the $20 million cloud seeding experiment needs double the time and national park land because no clear benefits have been found”, Mr Muir said.

“The Snowy Hydro promise of 10 per cent more snow is totally contradicted by the 2007 Natural Resources Commission review report that states ‘[Snowy Hydro's] reporting does not provide any evidence to support claims of increased snowfall'.”

“When environmental risks are high and the chances of success low, then a precautionary approach is necessary. The inconclusive results and threat to endangered wildlife should justify the termination of cloud seeding in Kosciuszko National Park , rather than ramping the experiment up,” he said.

“Yet the NSW Government has demonstrated its insensitivity to the complexities of the issue by ensuring that cloud seeding legislation overrides all regulation through planning, wilderness and national park management laws. This exercise of political power over due process is likely to repeat the failures made over the last 60 years regarding cloud seeding, but this time in the environmentally most sensitive part of Australia”, he said.

It is a self evident fact that temperatures will continue to rise, the snow line must also rise, and rain will replace snow in marginal areas. The only snowstorm guaranteed to be created by the cloud seeding experiment will be that generated by NSW Government and Snowy Hydro in regard to the facts of the matter”, said Mr Muir.

For more information contact: Keith Muir, (02) 9261 2400 (wk) or 0412 791 404(m)