Ron Sandland recently wrote about the new phenomenon of 'big data' - weighing up the benefits and concerns. Terry Speed reflected on the same issue in a talk earlier this year inGothenburg, Sweeden noting that this is nothing new to statisticians. So what's all the fuss about? Here's another take on the 'big data' bandwagon.
The proposed de-salination plant for Wonthaggi is now to undergo an EES.
Victorian Planning Minister Justin Madden today announced the launch of an environmental effects statement for the $3 billion desalination plant at Wonthaggi. Interestingly, and unlike other major infrastructure projects such as the channel deepening project,the planning and approval process for the desalination plant has thus far not been contingent upon the outcomes of an evironmental effects statement. It would appear that this EES has arisen from community pressure and lobbying by environmental groups and is thus an 'add-on' rather than an integral and key component of the approval process. The community would therefore justifiably feel that this is yet another case of environmental 'box-ticking' whose outcome will do little to influence decisions which have already been made. This lack of environmental due diligance is worrying in that it only serves to erode community trust and undermines the credibility and intent of an EES. In an article recently published in the Adelaide Advertiser, Professor David Fox (http://www.civenv.unimelb.edu.au/~davidfox/) highlights the folly of disposing wastewater at Boags Rocks while effectively sucking it up at Wonthaggi and expendeing massive amounts of energy in extracting the salt from it. See the full story here (pdf). There is a related video clip on the environmental impacts of disposing treated waste water from the Eastern Treatment Plant into Bass Strait - click here to go to the Podcast page and look under "Taking the Piss".