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WA's EPA Approves Plan for Additional Construction for Gorgon Project

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Western Australia's Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced Monday that it has recommended for conditional approval Chevron Australia's proposal to increase the footprint of its Gorgon Gas Development in the state.

The proposal aims to undertake clearing and earthworks of an additional 79 acres (32 hectares) on Barrow Island for additional construction laydown and operations support to the existing Gorgon Gas Development.

EPA Chairman Paul Vogel said the proposal was assessed to determine if the existing conditions on the development could be applied to the revised footprint.

"The EPA’s assessment was an opportunity to re-examine the established management plans and the measures the proponent has taken to avoid, minimize and rectify impacts to flora, vegetation and fauna including selecting a site that avoided Boodie warrens and raptor nests," Dr Vogel said.

"The EPA concluded that the conditions set out in the original approval are effective in managing impacts and should be implemented for the additional development."

However, the EPA also recommended an additional condition to offset the significant residual impacts of clearing 79 acres (32 hectares) of a Class A Nature Reserve including habitat for specially protected fauna.

The EPA has recommended the proponent offset the impact to the area by extending the established Threatened Species Translocation and Reintroduction Program for a further two years.

"The Threatened Species Translocation and Reintroduction Program will be extended from 12 years to 14 years," Dr Vogel said.

"This offset represents a 10 percent increase in the contribution, which is equal to the approximately 10 percent increase in the project footprint from 741 acres (300 hectares) to 820 acres (332 hectares)."

Dr Vogel said the proponent had also committed to rehabilitate land within the development envelope when no longer required to support construction and operation of the Gorgon Gas Development.

The EPA’s report to the Minister for Environment is now open for a two-week public appeal period, closing Jan. 20.

Appeals can be made at www.appealsconvenor.wa.gov.au

The Minister for Environment will make the final decision.

EPA Report 1499 is available at www.epa.wa.gov.au

Ministerial Statement 800 (existing Conditions on the Gorgon Gas Development) can be found at http://www.epa.wa.gov.au/EPADocLib/00800.pdf

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