Minister Determines Appeals for Chevron's Gorgon Project

Environment Minister Donna Faragher has today determined appeals against the Environmental Protection Authority's (EPA) report on the revised and expanded proposed Gorgon gas development on Barrow Island.

In determining appeals, Faragher agreed that there was a need for better protection of high value coral adjacent to the project. As such, monitoring will be extended to significant coral reef outcrops outside impact zones.

"This condition reinforces my focus on protecting the important coral outcrops, and that coral lost due to dredging will continue to be confined to three percent of the total coral area off the east coast of Barrow Island," she said.

For the flatback marine turtles, the Minister has determined that artificial light emissions should be minimized to protect the local population. For the first time, management of light emissions will be required as a project condition.

"Given the value of Barrow Island as a habitat for flatback turtles, I strongly endorse this condition with the object of minimizing light emissions," she said.

"I have also required that the proponent's undertakings on the flatback turtle intervention program are incorporated into the project conditions.

"This commitment is to enhance the turtle population through such means as establishing hatcheries should the island's turtle numbers show decline."

Other improvements to conditions include:

  • a requirement for the proponent to continue monitoring for subterranean fauna, consistent with EPA recommendations
  • noise emissions to be incorporated into the long-term marine turtle management plan and other plans as required.

Faragher said she would consult with other decision making Ministers to obtain final agreement on the conditions and the proponent's turtle conservation program, which she expects to be extended to match the life of the project.