05/05/2011 - 00:00

Coal backer blasts EPA

05/05/2011 - 00:00

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When the Environmental Protection Authority announced its decision against the Vasse Coal Project in March, the mining company proposing the project, LD Operations, remained fairly quiet.

Coal backer blasts EPA

When the Environmental Protection Authority announced its decision against the Vasse Coal Project in March, the mining company proposing the project, LD Operations, remained fairly quiet.

But when the EPA released details of the decision this week, LD Operations came out swinging.

It said the report was lacking in evidence, contradicted information provided to the authority by government agencies, ignored critical expert evidence and did not provide full and accurate information to Environment Minister Bill Marmion.

When EPA chairman Paul Vogel announced he would reject the project two months ago, he said it would place serious widespread, irreversible risks on the region’s environment and classed the level of assessment for the project as API Category B or environmentally unacceptable.

There is no option to appeal that level of assessment but LD Operations said it was considering its options ahead of a decision being made by Mr Marmion.

The company claims the EPA ignored submissions from nine government agencies, including the Department of Water and the Department of Environment and Conservation.

It said none of the departments supported the EPA’s decision against the project proceeding to a full and comprehensive Public Environmental Review.

“Additionally, the EPA appears to have concerned itself with the ‘social surrounds’ of the region, without defining the meaning of the term nor providing any assessment or evaluation of the social surrounds impacts cited in its decision, nor was any information of this nature provided,” LD Operations said in a statement.

Mr Vogel came back with a statement on Tuesday defending his decision, saying: “It is for the independent EPA in Western Australia to provide integrated, holistic advice to government about the environmental acceptability of proposed development, not individual agencies.

“Normally, this advice would follow a full environmental impact assessment process, which may include consideration of the biophysical changes that a proposal may have on the ‘social surroundings’.

“The EPA stands by its decision that the Vasse Coal proposal is environmentally unacceptable and will defend its position in any forum.”

 

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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