Western Australia OKs Devastating Fossil Fuel Project

Environmental groups are denouncing the state government approval of Woodside Petroleum’s proposed $45 billion Kimberley gas hub at James Price Point in Western Australia’s Kimberley region, calling it an environmental disaster. The final decision now rests with the federal environment minister, who so far has not taken a position on the fossil fuel project proposed for untouched turtle, whale and dugong habitat.

“This proposal would be the biggest environmental disaster the Kimberley has ever seen. According to government reports there would be a devastating marine deadzone surrounding the port in the middle of humpback whale calving grounds, dolphin habitat and seagrass beds which are essential for endangered turtles and other marine life like dugong and fish,” said Environs Kimberley Director Martin Pritchard in Broome, Western Australia. “Unfortunately no amount of conditions can stop the devastation of 34 million tonnes of dredging and the blasting in a pristine marine environment.”

“The decision to approve the natural gas plant is devastating, but not surprising given that compliant politicians are so willing to trade sea turtles and ocean health for oil and gas company profits,” said Teri Shore, Program Director at Turtle Island Restoration Network (SeaTurtles.org) in California. “Last week BP, plead guilty to the criminal oil spill in the Gulf yet is allowed to expand its interests around the globe including the Kimberley.” BP is a partner in the Browse Basin natural gas project. California-based Chevron sold its shares to Shell, but is building two massive LNG plants down the coast on sea turtle nesting beaches.

“It’s now down to the Australian Government and the Woodside joint venture partners to make sure this proposal does not go ahead on the Kimberley coast. With recent reports showing floating is $9 billion cheaper, there could be a win-win situation where the environment is protected and investors have certainty,” Pritchard concluded.

Australian Associate Press reported:

• From: AAP
• November 19, 2012 3:55PM
FULL STORY http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/breaking-news/was-30bn-gas-hub-gets-environmental-nod/story-fn3dxiwe-1226519635743

CONSERVATION groups say the West Australian government’s approval of Woodside’s contentious Browse gas project is a step towards “environmental disaster” and have urged the commonwealth to reject the proposal.

On Monday, state environment minister Bill Marmion approved the $30 billion project planned for James Price Point north of Broome.
All that is needed now is the green light from Mr Marmion’s federal counterpart Tony Burke and a decision by the Woodside-led joint venture to proceed.

Those opposed to the location, including the Australian Greens, have called repeatedly for Browse Basin gas to be piped south to Woodside’s existing North West Shelf facilities in the Pilbara region.

Others, including JP Morgan analysts, favour a floating liquefaction vessel, as Royal Dutch Shell plans for its Ichthys LNG project in the state’s far north, but WA Premier Colin Barnett says that model would not provide enough local jobs.

Environs Kimberley pointed to a November 5 JP Morgan research note that said a floating project could be competitive because it allowed the proponents to “offshore costs in the escalating Australian capex environment”.