The Minister for the Environment, Hon Bill Marmion (Minister), has recently (December 2012) approved the first ever “derived proposal” under the Environmental Protection Act 1986 (WA) (EP Act).
The derived proposal related to Woodside Energy Ltd’s proposal to develop a Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) plant at James Price Point, 60km north of Broome.
A derived proposal is a proposal which follows and complies with a strategic proposal. In this case, the Department of State Development first lodged a strategic proposal over James Price Point, which provided for multiple LNG users to co-locate at a single site, instead of being spread across more sensitive parts of the Kimberley. The strategic proposal took into account the cumulative impact of future derived proposals and was approved by the Minister earlier in 2012.
During assessment of the derived proposal it was found that no new environmental issues were raised which had not already been addressed by the strategic proposal, nor were there any significant new or additional information that justifies re-assessment. It was on that basis that the proposal was approved by the Environmental Protection Authority. Under the EP Act, there can be no appeal of a decision.
Lavan Legal comment
The first ever approval of a derived proposal under the EP Act is an important milestone in the fast tracking of environmental approvals for major projects in WA. Despite the fact that separate approval from the Commonwealth Minister for the Environment under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 is still pending, it is hoped that in the future, concurrent assessment and approval may be possible to further streamline what is an extremely time consuming and costly dual assessment and approvals process.