AGL’s EES due for release.

It’s been a year since we delivered over 17,000 signatures to Brett Redman’s stunt double (after the AGL CEO reneged on his agreement to meet with us), and AGL’s plans to import gas seem more absurd now than they did then. Some of the gas AGL plans to import may have originated here in Victoria, before being sold offshore .

Yet AGL has submitted these plans to the Planning Minister for assessment in an Environment Effects Statement that has taken nearly 2 years to prepare. The EES reports are expected to be released for public comment, even as demand for gas plummets and better options abound.

AGL’s competitors at VIVA Energy announced a similar project last week that would require no new gas pipeline. It would be preferable if no new gas infrastructure is built, but there’s no doubt the Geelong site would be far more suitable than AGL’s Westernport plans. Within range of the  hazard facilities that LNG operations require, Geelong would be far safer than AGL’s proposed Crib Point location, near residential communities, and primary schools. 

AGL’s project could spell disaster for local communities, for Westernport’s internationally recognised Ramsar wetlands, and for our climate. A few dozen jobs, that AGL admits would not employ locals, but would require trained operators from other LNG projects, could never offset the loss of amenity, and precious peace and quiet that this project would cause.

As part of the EES assessment, Minister Wynne must consider whether the proponent has demonstrated an ability to manage risks and operate according to the law. AGL’s past record of fines and convictions does nothing to instil confidence. 

Local communities in Westernport have told AGL in every way possible; they will not accept living alongside the risk of catastrophic failure, knowing AGL’s past performance of environmental mismanagement, industrial accidents and toxic spills.

Members of Save Westernport have complied a growing list of AGL’s infractions that leave us in no doubt; we do not want them as our neighbour for the next 20 years!

To help us make a compelling submission when the EES is released, Save Westernport and Environment Victoria have started planning our response. We’re seeking people who would like to
A) join our working groups,      or
B) appear as expert witnesses in the EES Hearings later this year. 

There are numerous areas of concern: migratory birds, water/ air/ noise/ light pollution, marine mammals, endangered species, health and psychological effects, climate change, aboriginal cultural heritage, Ramsar, impacts on tourism, economic disadvantage, pipelines, hydrology, tidal flows, shipping, gas markets and more.
You can contact us here for more information.

Save Westernport and Environment Victoria will be encouraging community groups and individuals  to make submissions against AGL’s dirty gas plans once the EES goes on display. 

Few people would be more profoundly affected than members of this community, so it’ll be essential for Mr Wynne to hear our views on why this choice of location is so unsound. 

A project can be rejected if its potential effects on the community and/or the environment are considered too great. Based on the information AGL has made available about their gas import proposal, (see reports below) we are in no doubt that it would do nothing but disadvantage our community, degrade the environment and provide profits for the proponent AGL.

AGL has never attempted to prove their claim that gas is urgently needed to supply Victorian families and businesses. Importing cheap gas would benefit AGL, but at what cost to the local environment and the wider climate crisis? 

You can sign up here for our regular Newsletter Updates or contact us secretary@savewesternport.org with questions about the EES. Some of our members with experience in environmental law and the EES process agree that the more submissions the Minister receives from the public, the better. 

Once AGL’s EES reports are released we’ll have just 40 days to comment, and many chapters to read. We’ve been reviewing the reports that AGL prepared that led Minister Wynne to call for an EES   in 2018. 

It’s likely much of this information will still apply. 

AGL’s Cumulative Impacts Assessment on the Crib Point project
http://epbcnotices.environment.gov.au/_entity/annotation/38a0c105-4ecc-e811-a2e6-005056ba00a8/a71d58ad-4cba-48b6-
8dab-f3091fc31cd5?t=1582460658615

AGL’s  Online Discussion Forum

Save Westernport on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/2359810567577342/posts/3268981323326924/

Minister’s announcement in WesternPort News http://www.mpnews.com.au/2020/06/09/ten-days-added-to-ees-process/