Interesting test case

The proposed Gorgon development, utilising Barrow Island, is proving an interesting WA test case for a first front-end environmental, social and economic review.

The Environment Protection Authority last week published more than 400 environmental questions from submissions received on the proposal put up in the ESE review document, and the Department of Industry and Resources logged more than 350 strategic, economic and social questions.

The proposal, involving gas with a high CO2 component and use of a Class A nature reserve, has drawn strong comment.

Several of the 44 submissions asked for backup for assertions made in the document, or for more detailed information on various options, although the Gorgon joint venture points out an almost equal number of submissions have already supported the proposal.

Most submissions focussed on the location, biodiversity issues, greenhouse gas management, industry and customer support, and the amount of detail included in the review, the Gorgon venture said.

The Conservation Council of WA has submitted that the document has major flaws as an ESE review, and that the proposal has not been demonstrated to be sustainable.

However, the Gorgon joint venture has reminded stakeholders that this is a front-end process, and that if in-principle approval for the development were granted, an environmental impact assessment process would then commence.

The Gorgon joint venture has published responses to issues and questions arising from the submissions, in separate documents to the Department of Industry and Resources, and the Environmental Protection Society.

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