Big Oil Trumps Sea Turtles and Whales in Siting New LNG Plant In Remote Northwest Australia
Environmental Laws Ignored in Choosing James Price Point for New LNG plant along wild Kimberley Coast December 4th, 2009
Sea turtles and whales that swim and nest along the wild Kimberley coast in Northwest Australia were ignored by Big Oil and the Western Australian government in deciding to site a new LNG gas plant near James Price Point.
Australian flatbacks, greens, and hawksbills utilize the waters and beaches of the Kimberley region; and olive ridleys and leatherbacks are sometimes seen. Very little is known about these populations due to lack of research and dominance of fossil fuel and mining interests. Read more about the Kimberley.
Sea Turtle Restoration Project is joining environmentalists in Australia in condemning this decision and working to reverse it. Program Director Teri Shore will be visiting the region in February 2010 and organizing an activist eco-tour for December 2010.
A press release on the devastating decision was released by Western Australian environmental groups today:
Decisions by WA Premier Colin Barnett and Commonwealth Resources
Minister Martin Ferguson to force industrial LNG development on the Pristine
Kimberley Coast ahead of an environmental assessment demonstrate reckless
disregard for environmental laws, and open the door for legal challenge,
according to environment groups opposed to the plan.
by Premier Barnett on the site for an industrial gas hub, and yesterday’s
announcement by Commonwealth Minister Ferguson that joint venture partners would
be forced to choose a development location for Browse LNG within 120 days have
combined to set a D-day for the Kimberley” said Piers Verstegen, Director of the
WA Conservation Council.
Josh Coates, Kimberley Campaigner with the
Wilderness Society WA said that “Recently released research conducted by local
whale experts clearly shows that the site chosen by Premier Barnett is part of
one of the most important humpback whale calving and feeding grounds in the
“Environmental assessments for the area have not been completed
but the Premier and Woodside are so determined to industrialise the Kimberley
they are prepared to disregard the intent of State and Federal agreements and
environmental law, raising the strong prospect of legal challenge.” Josh Coates
from the Wilderness Society said.
“The Premier has a made a huge mistake
in trying to get this gas hub and industrial port built in the Kimberley; he’s
in such a hurry that he’s forgotten about the need to follow commonwealth and
state environmental laws.” said Environs Kimberley Director Martin Pritchard.
“This decisions by Premier Barnett, and yesterday’s announcement by
Minister Ferguson that joint venture partners would be forced to choose a
development location for Browse LNG within 120 days demonstrates that both State
and Commonwealth governments have no regard for the environmental impact
assessment process that is required under State and Commonwealth law.”
Conservation Council of WA Director Piers Verstegen said “The community
has become used to the WA government overturing recommendations by the EPA, but
here we have both state and Commonwealth Governments proceeding to force
development before the required assessments have even been completed.”
“These reckless decisions can only open up legal challenges and the
consequences of that are potentially years of court hearings, this is exactly
the opposite of what potential investors and share holders want to hear.”
Concluded Mr. Verstegen
Media Contact: Martin Pritchard, Environs
Kimberley: 08 9192 1922 or 0427 548 075 Piers Verstegen, Conservation
Council of WA: 0411 557 892 Joshua Coates, The Wilderness Society WA: 0438