Australian churches line up to oppose uranium mining - news from ekklesia

By staff writers
October 18, 2005

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Australian churches line up to oppose uranium mining

-18/10/05

As Australia's government faces tough decisions about the future of uranium mining, an environmental agency backed by the Catholic bishops in Australia has joined the Uniting Church and other Christian networks in opposing its growth.

Catholic Earthcare Australia's director, Colin Brown, has told the Melbourne-based paper The Age that the Catholic Church remains is against the expansion of the industry, which critics say has a poor environmental track record.

Mr Brown also stressed the Churchís unease about the secrecy that surrounds uranium mining operations.

Catholics in Australia are involved in a debate about the development of civil nuclear power, which is being reconsidered by the British and other Western governments.

Concerns are also being expressed about the danger of nuclear facilities being targeted by terrorist groups.

Catholic opinions differ on the nuclear question, according to Mr Brown. But there is widespread agreement that the authorities should be putting more effort into expanding Australia's renewable energy industries.

The Protestant Uniting Church in Australia remains opposed to increasing uranium mining and nuclear power, which it believes threatens both human communities and the environment.

The Uniting Church's UCA Funds Management, which manages an investment portfolio worth around 550 million Australian dollars, has maintained its ban on uranium stocks.

UCA sold its BHP Billiton shares after the conglomerate took over uranium miner WMC earlier in 2005.

Meanwhile the chair of the Australian Anglican Church's national public affairs committee, Ray Cleary, declared that his church should now also review its uranium policy.

Anglicans have traditionally taken a critical stance toward the nuclear industry. But in August 2005 the church's investment fund, Glebe Asset Management, lifted its ban on uranium mining shares after it found that many clients did not object to uranium as strongly as they did to other industries, such as gambling, tobacco and pornography.

Christian environmentalists fear that the agenda is being driven by corporate self-interest rather than theological and moral considerations.

The difficulty is that fossil fuels are contributors to global warming and climate change. Some argue that a ëcleanerí nuclear option would be preferable if safety concerns could be overcome.

Many see the industry as inherently unstable, dangerous and economically questionable, however.

Catholic Earthcare Australia is an ecological agency established by the Australian Catholic Bishops' Conference and chaired by Bishop Christopher Toohey.

Its mission is to help promote understanding among people that creation is sacred and endangered, and that the natural world needs protection and preservation for present and future generations.

Find books now:

Australian churches line up to oppose uranium mining

-18/10/05

As Australia's government faces tough decisions about the future of uranium mining, an environmental agency backed by the Catholic bishops in Australia has joined the Uniting Church and other Christian networks in opposing its growth.

Catholic Earthcare Australia's director, Colin Brown, has told the Melbourne-based paper The Age that the Catholic Church remains is against the expansion of the industry, which critics say has a poor environmental track record.

Mr Brown also stressed the Church's unease about the secrecy that surrounds uranium mining operations.

Catholics in Australia are involved in a debate about the development of civil nuclear power, which is being reconsidered by the British and other Western governments.

Concerns are also being expressed about the danger of nuclear facilities being targeted by terrorist groups.

Catholic opinions differ on the nuclear question, according to Mr Brown. But there is widespread agreement that the authorities should be putting more effort into expanding Australia's renewable energy industries.

The Protestant Uniting Church in Australia remains opposed to increasing uranium mining and nuclear power, which it believes threatens both human communities and the environment.

The Uniting Church's UCA Funds Management, which manages an investment portfolio worth around 550 million Australian dollars, has maintained its ban on uranium stocks.

UCA sold its BHP Billiton shares after the conglomerate took over uranium miner WMC earlier in 2005.

Meanwhile the chair of the Australian Anglican Church's national public affairs committee, Ray Cleary, declared that his church should now also review its uranium policy.

Anglicans have traditionally taken a critical stance toward the nuclear industry. But in August 2005 the church's investment fund, Glebe Asset Management, lifted its ban on uranium mining shares after it found that many clients did not object to uranium as strongly as they did to other industries, such as gambling, tobacco and pornography.

Christian environmentalists fear that the agenda is being driven by corporate self-interest rather than theological and moral considerations.

The difficulty is that fossil fuels are contributors to global warming and climate change. Some argue that a ëcleaner' nuclear option would be preferable if safety concerns could be overcome.

Many see the industry as inherently unstable, dangerous and economically questionable, however.

Catholic Earthcare Australia is an ecological agency established by the Australian Catholic Bishops' Conference and chaired by Bishop Christopher Toohey.

Its mission is to help promote understanding among people that creation is sacred and endangered, and that the natural world needs protection and preservation for present and future generations.

Although the views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent the views of Ekklesia, the article may reflect Ekklesia's values. If you use Ekklesia's news briefings please consider making a donation to sponsor Ekklesia's work here.