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WA environmental watchdog backs Scarborough pipeline approval

The Western Australian Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) has recommended approval for the state component of a liquid natural gas (LNG) pipeline that forms part of the Woodside Energy-led Scarborough project.

EPA chair Tom Hatton said the proposal would see the installation of a gas trunkline 32.7km long, located adjacent to the existing Pluto LNG facility 8km north east of Dampier in the Pilbara.

“The EPA has completed its assessment of Woodside’s state waters component of a 434km long pipeline, which will link the Scarborough gas field project with the Pluto LNG facility on the Burrup Peninsula,” Hatton said.

Hatton said the EPA looked carefully at environmental impacts particularly around coral communities, water quality, social and cultural values, and marine species within the development envelope.

“As a precautionary measure, the EPA has recommended management plans to avoid and minimise the direct and indirect environmental impacts,” he said.

The EPA said the portion of the Scarborough project was within state waters and was expected to have minimal greenhouse gas emissions as it would be a short-term trunkline construction.

The remaining portion of the Scarborough project that is within Commonwealth waters will be assessed by the Australian Government, under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999, which includes the consideration of greenhouse gas emissions.

In December 2019, the EPA released Woodside Energy’s Browse to North West Shelf Development and North West Shelf Project extension environmental review documents for eight weeks’ public comment (closing on February 12, 2020).

The proposals are operated by Woodside Energy on behalf of its joint venture partners. The EPA’s report on the Scarborough project nearshore component to the Minister for Environment is open for a two-week public appeal period until January 20.

Western Australia’s Minister for Environment will make the final decision on the proposal.

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