Imogen Elliott The Advocate 4 Aug 2016
Energy minister Matthew Groom says the government has ruled out further inquiries into cloud seeding operations until it has received recommendations from a Hydro Tasmania review.
A review is being conducted as a growing number of state politicians and industry stakeholders call for an independent inquiry into Hydro’s decision making and cloud seeding operations more generally.
Mr Groom said independent inquiries into cloud seeding were conducted in 2002 and 2008.
He said the government would examine the results of Hydro’s ongoing review into its policies and procedures before considering another inquiry.
“It would be prudent to receive that advice first, before discussing any future inquiries,” Mr Groom said.
“This is clearly yet another example of Labor shamelessly trying to exploit people’s fears.”
Labor Leader Bryan Green accused Matthew Groom of hiding behind childish political attacks.
Independent Murchison MLC Ruth Forrest joined the opposition in calling for an external inquiry.
“Because there is a degree of cynicism around hydro Tasmania’s use of cloud seeding I think it’s really important an independent look into it.”
“I would question whether there needs to be more research in to when it should be done,” Ms Forrest said.
A report into Hydro’s decision to conduct a cloud seeding flight on June 5 was released last week.
It would be prudent to receive that advice first, before discussing any future inquiries- Energy Minister Matthew Groom
The internal report showed cloud seeding had no measurable impact on the floods, but critics called for an external review to be conducted.
Bryan Green is sceptical of the report’s findings and said it was released on a Friday afternoon to avoid unwanted attention.
Mr Groom said independent reviews conducted in the past found the benefits of cloud seeding outweighed the negatives.
Cloud seeding involves the dropping of artificial ice crystals into clouds to encourage more rainfall.
It is conducted over Hydro energy water catchments to boost dam levels.
Due to historic dry conditions, cloud seeding flights began ahead of schedule this year.
Hydro Tasmania has suspended cloud seeding until a review is complete.