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Esso’s proposed gas processing plant at Longford does not need Environment Effects Statement, says Minister

Posted by gmarkets on 10 September, 2007

An Environment Effects Statement (EES) will not be required to assess the effects of Esso’s proposed gas conditioning plant at Longford, the Minister for Planning Justin Madden announced in a Victorian Ministry for Planning Media Release on 24 August 2007. Site not environmentally significant: “After careful consideration and advice from the Minister for Environment and Climate Change, and the Minister for Energy and Resources, I am satisfied that an EES is not required in this instance,” Madden said. “The proposed site for the proposed plant consists of cleared agricultural land with no landscape, biodiversity, cultural heritage or water body features of established environmental significance. I am satisfied that greenhouse gas emissions will be readily assessed once the proposed plant design is finalised and that the EPA Work Approval process will provide a satisfactory means of assessing suitable means to reduce these emissions,” he said.

CO2 capture later, maybe: “In the longer-term there may be an opportunity to implement technologies to capture and store carbon dioxide emissions from facilities such as the proposed Esso plant. However, full commercialisation of this technology is not complete and hence they don’t warrant in-depth assessment in this case. At the same time, I have been advised by my colleagues of the steps being taken by the Government to put in place infrastructure for carbon capture and storage in the next decade or so. This is a major challenge, which the Government is actively pursuing,” said Madden.

Reasons given: The proposed plant would be located on flat land currently used for grazing, to the immediate east of the existing Longford Gas Plant. It would involve construction of a gas processing plant, as well as connections to the existing offshore pipelines and connections to the existing Longford Gas Plants. In a public notice issued via the internet, the Minister for Planning provided the following reasons for his decision:

• greenhouse gas emissions from different sources within the proposed plant can be readily estimated once the proposed plant design is confirmed

• an EES would not provide a useful assessment of best practice options for carbon capture and storage to inform decision-making, as such technologies are neither required nor specifically provided for under applicable legislation and policy, nor evidently within the current capacity of commercial proponents to implement in Victoria, including through the use of either their own or third-party infrastructure.

• applicable legislation and subordinate instruments would require the proponent to apply “practicable” best practice to the design and operation of the proposed plant. More specifically, relevant opportunities to reduce greenhouse gas emissions will be assessed as part of the decision-making process under the Environment Protection Act 1970;

• even in the absence of an EES, the proposed plant is likely to be subject to both a future obligation to monitor and report greenhouse gas emissions and incentives to abate these emissions within a legislated framework for emissions trading;

• the proposed site for the proposed plant consists of cleared agricultural land with no landscape, biodiversity, cultural heritage or water body features of established environmental significance; and

• the proposed plant site is zoned Industrial under the Wellington Planning Scheme and adjoins the existing Longford Gas Plant. It is within a sparsely populated area and its development is unlikely to significantly increase hazards affecting residents in the surrounding area.

Media contact: Licardo Prince. Mobile: 0439 333 153.
Reference: Victorian Ministry for Planning, Media Release, Friday 24 August 2007

http://www.legislation.vic.gov.au/domino/Web_Notes/newmedia.nsf/35504bc71d3adebcca256cfc0082c2b8/817f4c084ffcfc6eca257343007d15d4!OpenDocument

Erisk Net, 10/9/2007

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