New LNG precinct approved by EPA

A proposal for development of an LNG precinct north of Broome has been slated for approval by the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA).

Three delegates from the EPA have recommended approval for the new industrial area near James Price Point, after re-examining the proposal.

In 2013 Western Australia’s Chief Justice Wayne Martin ruled the EPA decision to grant approval to the project was unlawful.

At the time four out of five EPA board members declared conflicts of interest, leaving EPA chairman Paul Vogel to approve the proposal on his own.

Chief Justice Martin said that decisions made in EPA meetings had been invalidated by the involvement of three of the board members in question.

Delegate chairman Gerard Early said the only distinction of the new proposal was that Woodside was no longer the foundation proponent, and that the delegation had started their review from scratch.

"We didn't look at the previous EPA assessment which was found to be invalid, but we did look at all the submissions that were made,” he said.

"We went back out to all the people who had made submissions other than the thousands of just form letter submissions – we went to all the others twice."

The new approval includes 28 conditions covering issues such as coastal processes, marine environmental quality, flora and fauna, rehab and decommissioning.

"In a sense, not having Woodside as a foundation proponent's kind of irrelevant,” Early said.

“What we've done is recommended a whole series of conditions that should apply to any future proposal.

"The whole idea of strategic assessments is to deal with this thing in a proactive way, and to provide certainty to proponents and the community about what's expected if there is a development there."

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