THE WEST AUSTRALIAN
Tuesday, 04 December 2012 14:21
The Environment Protection Authority (EPA) received more than 1400 public submissions in a week-long public comment period on Woodside's plans to build an LNG processing facility at James Price Point as the first "derived proposal" submitted in Western Australia.
The WA Department of State Development's strategic assessment for the gas precinct, approved by Environment Minister Bill Marmion, allows for multiple LNG users to occupy a single site and considers cumulative environmental effects.
It allows companies to submit development plans as "derived proposals" - or future proposals - which do not require further environmental approval.
Environmentalists have criticised the proposition, claiming it would allow Woodside's gas plant to be built without further environmental scrutiny.
The 1528ha development within the precinct will include construction of a 25 million tonnes per annum liquefied natural gas processing facility and infrastructure treatment and carbon dioxide removal facilities; processing trains, hydrocarbon storage and effluent treatment and discharge facilities.
Workers' accommodation, roads and marine structures, including pipelines, a shipping channel, jetties, breakwaters and supply boat facilities will also be built.
Wilderness Society WA spokesman Peter Robertson said for the EPA to declare the proposal "derived", environmental management plans showing how conditions would be implemented must be close to finalised but Woodside had submitted no such plans.
Woodside had also said the proposal was not within an existing or proposed conservation area: "This is untrue," Mr Robertson said.
The EPA had noted previous government recommendations that land which would be in the southern part of the precinct should be added to the Coulomb Point Nature Reserve to create a "Dampierland National Park", he said.
"It is very apparent that the many reports, studies and plans that the EPA said needed to be provided at the time of any application for a derived proposal have not been supplied by the proponent," Mr Robertson said.
Public comments received on Woodside's proposal dwarfed the record 240 appeals submitted on the strategic assessment for the precinct.
Submissions close today.
EPA chairman Paul Vogel and deputy chairman Professor Robert Harvey must now decide whether the proposal fits within the strictly defined precinct footprint and can be declared "derived".
Mr Vogel said the EPA would consider whether more assessment was warranted if significant or new information was raised. The final decision on the precinct rests with Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke.
A Woodside spokesman said: "We believe that the range of management plans and strategies outlined in the Strategic Assessment Report ... and reflected in the Minister's environmental conditions will ensure that the proposed Browse LNG Downstream Development can co-exist with the environmental, cultural and heritage values of the West Kimberley."
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