Environmental approval granted for controversial gas hub

A file photo of a protest at the Woodside LNG gas hub site.

WESTERN AUSTRALIA: Environmental approval has been granted for Woodside Petroleum’s proposed $30 billion Kimberley gas hub at James Price Point in Western Australia’s Kimberley region.

The approval comes following a review of appeals against a controversial Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) report which recommended the project go ahead.

State environment minister Bill Marmion confirmed he had now ticked off environmental approval for the proposed Browse Liquefied Natural Gas Precinct, north of Broome – subject to stricter conditions.

These include a demand for strengthened protection of whales, dolphins, dugongs, turtles and sawfish, enhanced protection of dinosaur tracks, and more action on the the risk of pollution from oil spills and air emissions.

“I have also strengthened conditions for the involvement of traditional owners and native title claimants, and the requirements for stakeholder and community consultation in the development of a range of environmental management plans,” Mr Marmion said.

“I am satisfied the strictest environmental approvals process has been followed to ensure all possible issues have been addressed.”

Former CSIRO chief executive Roy Green had previously been appointed by the West Australian government to review appeals against the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) report recommending the LNG project go ahead.

The controversial EPA recommendation was left to just one man, chairman Paul Vogel, after his four fellow board members abstained due to conflicts of interest.

Mr Vogel’s final recommendation contained 29 strict conditions for the development including environmental, cultural and heritage measures.

“On top of a four-year investigation by the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA), I appointed an independent Appeals Committee to investigate the 244 appeals lodged against the EPA’s recommendations,” Mr Marmion said.

“This resulted in a comprehensive review of the EPA’s report, which allowed me to strengthen the final conditions so the environment will be properly protected if the precinct is developed.”


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