The Environmental Protection Authority has recommended conditional environmental approval of Chevron Australia’s ‘Wheatstone’ proposal for a 25 million tonne per annum (Mtpa) liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant and associated facilities on the Pilbara coast near Onslow.Release Date:
15 June 2011Details:
EPA Chairman Paul Vogel said that the EPA had recommended that the $25 billion proposal could be implemented with stringent conditions to limit environmental impacts.
‘The assessment of this proposal was complex as it involves impacts and risks to thousands of hectares of marine and terrestrial habitat and significant greenhouse gas emissions,’ Dr Vogel said.
‘It includes one of Australia’s largest marine dredging campaigns, with dredging of 48 million cubic metres over 3-4 years with impacts and risks to tropical marine habitat including coral reefs. Greenhouse emissions equivalent to 10 million tonnes of carbon dioxide per year are also proposed.
‘The dredging program alone is equivalent to filling Subiaco Oval to the top of the goal posts more than 120 times.’
Dr Vogel said a comprehensive set of environmental conditions had been recommended, including an agreed offsets package, to give a high level of confidence that the EPA’s environmental objectives could be met.
Key recommendations include:
- a requirement that the company offsets reservoir gas emissions, consistent with the Pluto LNG and Gorgon projects. This condition is waived if Commonwealth greenhouse gas arrangements come into effect;
- an ongoing requirement for independent audit of energy efficiency and performance of the plant to ensure a high degree of public transparency and accountability and to encourage best practice; and
- strict dredging conditions to limit the impacts to coral reefs and other marine communities;
- conditions to limit impacts on marine fauna including whales, turtles and dugong; and
- offsets to manage the potential impacts to the Cane River Conservation Park, offshore islands and local creek systems from the potential effects of a large construction workforce.
Dr Vogel said the EPA’s report to Government would now be subject to a two week public appeal period closing 29 June 2011.
EPA Report 1404 is available at www.epa.wa.gov.au.
Information on all proposals currently under assessment by the EPA is available at http://www.epa.wa.gov.au/EIA/statofactivformal/Pages/default.aspx?cat=Status%20of%20Active%20Formal%20Assessments&url=EIA/statofactivformal.
EPA Media contact: Charlie Maling, 6467 5415, 0400 866 450Status: