Extra hurdle for AGL’s gas plan

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POWER company AGL is now being called on by both the state and federal governments to provide further details about likely impacts of the floating gas import terminal it wants to operate at Crib Point.

The Commonwealth Department of Environment and Energy last week said that the proposed AGL processing terminal and pipeline from Crib Point to Pakenham was considered a “controlled action” requiring assessment and approval under the Federal Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act).

The decision followed letters from residents to Environment Minister Melissa Price detailing their concerns about AGL’s plans.

The process will now require AGL and pipeline operator APA to provide more information, including an environmental impact statement (EIS) detailing likely hazards to Western Port and its endangered species and how these would be dealt with.

The final scoping requirements will be made public with an EES consultation plan for the public in 2019.

The federal government’s decision followed the state government’s announcement on 26 November that public comments are now open on the draft scoping requirements for the environmental effects statement (EES).

The 29-page draft scoping requirements report details matters that will be investigated and documented in the EES for the gas terminal and pipeline.

Community group Save Westernport welcomed the state and federal governments’ demands for AGL to provide greater detail about what it terms the project’s “many hazards, including the potential health and safety risks to Crib Point residents”.

“In light of AGL’s poor track record, people are extremely concerned about the project and believe its many risks cannot be justified,” Save Westernport member Julia Stockigt said.

“They want to know that this project will not be allowed to degrade the marine ecosystems of Western Port that provide so much benefit and sustain local recreation, fishing and aquaculture businesses that rely on a healthy bay.”

Save Westernport is urging members of the public to send submissions to environment.assessment@delwp.vic.gov.au by 5pm on 19 December.

To read the draft scoping requirements for the EES go to Savewesternport.org

First published in the Western Port News – 4 December 2018

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