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EPA guidance threatens WA LNG

According to gas producers in the state, if the new rules are enforced they could threaten upcoming large-scale LNG projects.

The EPA’s new directive wants any new or expansion project in WA that emits more than 100,000 t per year of carbon dioxide to fully offset its emissions.

The agency’s advice and recommendations are considered by the government in authorising major developments within the state.

While the WA state government can ignore the guidance, if enforced new multibillion-dollar projects such as Woodside’s Browse and Scarborough developments would be affected.

Woodside CEO Peter Coleman said the EPA’s guidelines would threaten WA jobs and investment in new projects.

“The EPA has not consulted with industry proponents who might be directly affected, which amounts to policy on the run in a complex and important area,” he said.

“Not only will this proposal put at risk new jobs, investment and domestic gas supplies, it positions WA at a competitive disadvantage in the global LNG marketplace.

“The state government should reject this approach and commit to tackling this important policy area in a way that compliments our national emissions reduction targets and recognises WA’s aspirations not only for the environment but for a sustainable economic future.”

According to The Australian Financial Review, Federal Minister for Resources Matt Canavan called on the WA government to disregard the EPA’s guidance, saying WA’s economy needed to be protected.

“We are at a crucial time to finalise investments in projects like Scarborough and Browse and what we don’t need is regulatory uncertainty,” he said.

The Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association (APPEA) was also critical of the EPA’s recommendations, with outgoing APPEA Chief Executive Dr Malcolm Roberts saying LNG exports were reducing emissions.

“The EPA admits that it has not considered the social or economic impact of its guidelines. Its approach targets WA’s growth industries and will deter local investment, prompting projects to go interstate or overseas,” he said.

“As far as the LNG industry is concerned, our exports are contributing to a cleaner energy sector in north Asia. According to recent federal government estimates, Australian LNG exports are reducing emissions by at least 130 million t per year.

“APPEA urges the EPA and the WA government to put aside the guidelines while the state government completes its review of climate change policy.”

WA Environment Minister Stephen Dawson said the McGowan government would listen to the LNG industry as part of its response to the EPA.

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