The Environmental Protection Authority has provided advice and recommendations to the Minister for the Environment; Racing and Gaming on Chevron Australia Pty Ltd's proposal, as operator for the Gorgon Joint Venturers, to extract, pipe, liquefy and export 10 million tonnes per annum of natural gas using facilities offshore and on Barrow Island, Western Australia.Release Date:
6 June 2006Details:
The Environmental Protection Authority has provided advice and recommendations to the Minister for the Environment; Racing and Gaming on Chevron Australia Pty Ltd's proposal, as operator for the Gorgon Joint Venturers, to extract, pipe, liquefy and export 10 million tonnes per annum of natural gas using facilities offshore and on Barrow Island, Western Australia.
In September 2003 the Western Australian Government provided in-principle agreement to the joint venturers for restricted access to Barrow Island nature reserve subject to a number of conditions, including:
- Formal environmental impact assessment demonstrating that environmental factors can be managed without unacceptable impact on conservation values; and
- Development of standards for acceptable management of risk to conservation values and a clear demonstration that they can be met with a very high level of confidence.
EPA Chairman Dr Wally Cox said that work done by the Joint Venturers as part of the Environmental Review and Management Programme had further highlighted the terrestrial and marine conservation values of Barrow Island and the adjacent waters.
"Flatback turtles in particular would be put at risk from the proposal with two of the most important nesting beaches located adjacent to the proposed LNG processing plant site and the materials off-loading facility," Dr Cox said.
"There is very little science available on the life-cycle, behaviour and feeding habits of Flatback turtles and as a consequence it is not possible at this time to identify management measures that would ensure ongoing survival of this Pilbara Flatback turtle population."
Dr Cox also said that the Proponent had not been able to demonstrate that risk could be reduced to satisfactory levels in the areas of:
- Impacts on the marine ecosystem from dredging;
- The introduction of non-indigenous species; and,
- Potential loss of subterranean and short range endemic invertebrate fauna species.
"As a result, the proposal in its present form cannot meet the EPA's environmental objectives and is considered environmentally unacceptable," Dr Cox said.
The EPA's report is subject to appeal until close of business Tuesday 20 June 2006 and is available at www.epa.wa.gov.au.
Appeals are considered by the independent Appeals Convenor (9220 5072). The Convenor prepares a report for the Minister for Environment, Racing and Gaming on any appeals that may be received. The Minister then takes into consideration both the EPA's and the Convenor's report when making his final decision on any proposal.
The EPA is a five person board providing independent overarching environmental advice to the Minister for the Environment; Racing and Gaming through the preparation of environmental protection policies and the assessment of development proposals and management plans, as well as providing public statements about matters of environmental importance.
The EPA is supported by the EPA Service Unit. This Unit sits administratively within the Department of Environment but for EPA matters is under the control of the EPA.
Media contact: Charlie Maling 6364 7160 or 0400 866 450Status: