URGENT – EPA public submissions on better environmental regulations close 31 October 2019!

URGENT – EPA public submissions on better environmental regulations close 31 October 2019!

From Environment Victoria:

Right now the Andrews government is considering new rules that could weaken the EPA’s powers to stop companies like AGL from dumping polluted water into our precious wetlands. These new rules also fail to set clear guidelines for the EPA to fulfill their duty to cut climate pollution.

On July 1 2020 Victoria’s new Environment Protection Act will come into effect. 

This will help shape Victoria’s environmental future. Strong environmental laws are vital to protect our precious ecosystems and cut climate pollution in Victoria.

Sadly, the proposed regulations that go with the new Act miss the mark on the climate crisis and protecting nature.

Earlier this year we exposed AGL’s efforts to weaken Victoria’s environmental legislation which would prevent them from building a gas import terminal in Westernport Bay’s Ramsar wetlands.

Now the EPA is proposing to weaken these regulations. For the first time in 30 years, companies like AGL could get the greenlight to discharge polluted water into our precious Victorian aquatic environments like internationally recognised Ramsar Wetlands.

And in the midst of a climate crisis that has seen hundreds of thousands of Australians marching for climate action, the proposed regulations fail to create clear guidelines for the Environment Protection Authority to deal with climate polluters. 

Despite already having the powers to deal with climate pollution, so far the EPA has chosen to do nothing, claiming existing regulations don’t provide clear guidelines. Now the EPA is about to pass up an opportunity to solve this “issue”, choosing to maintain the status quo. This is not good enough.

Visit the EPA submissions website here.

Writing a submission can take less than 5 minutes. Here are the two most pressing issues the EPA need to hear about:

  1. The proposed regulations do not create a framework for the EPA to manage and regulate greenhouse gases. In the midst of a climate crisis, we need clear rules that empower (or even better, require) the EPA to engage with climate polluters and limit their pollution.
  2. New legislation should raise environmental standards, especially for the most sensitive environments. It is crucial to keep the protections of clause 22(3) of the current State Environment Protection Policy (Waters) that forbids the EPA from approving new wastewater discharges in areas of high conservation value.

The new legislation is likely to shape Victoria’s environmental future for decades. We have until this Thursday October 31 to push for better environmental regulations that put our climate and our precious habitats first.

We need to seize this moment and let them know that Victorians care deeply about our climate, our unique ecosystems, and the generations to come. 

Sincerely,

Dr Nick Aberle

Environment Victoria

https://environmentvictoria.org.au/

EPA Charter of Consultation – Submit Comments by 10 Nov 2019

EPA Charter of Consultation – Submit Comments by 10 Nov 2019

The new Environment Protection Amendment Act 2018 comes into force on 1 July 2020.

This is the single greatest overhaul of environment protection legislation in Victoria since the tabling of the Environment Protection Act 1970.

See details in the EPA Act 2018 fact sheet here.

Under the new Act, the general environment duty (GED) will focus Victorian business, industry and the community on preventing harm.

This will require people to undertake reasonably practicable steps to eliminate, or otherwise reduce risks of harm to human health and the environment from pollution and waste.

 

EPA Victoria is an independent statutory authority whose role is to protect Victoria’s environment and people from the harmful effects of pollution and waste.

EPA Victoria has developed a Draft Charter of Consultation and would like to hear feedback from the Victorian community about this Charter of Consultation and how it might be improved.

Members of the Victorian public can submit their feedback on the Draft Charter of Consultation at the Engage Victoria website here.

Further details are available in this Draft Charter document.

 

Have your say on how EPA Victoria consults with our communities and provides more environmental information.

Public submissions close on 10 November 2019.

Further information is available from EPA Victoria by calling 1300 372 842 or visit the website here.

 

Upcoming AGL community meetings in Aug/Sept 2019

Upcoming AGL community meetings in Aug/Sept 2019

AGL and APA will be holding new community meetings in late August and early September.

The “Community Drop-In Sessions” will be held on the following dates:

Saturday 24 August 2019

10:30am – 12:30pm

Hastings Community Hub

1973 Frankston – Flinders Road, Hastings

 

Tuesday 27 August 2019

5:00pm – 7:00pm

Crib Point Community House

7 Park Road, Crib Point

 

Wednesday 28 August 2019

5:00pm – 7:00pm

Pearcedale Community Centre

710 Baxter – Tooradin Road, Pearcedale

 

Saturday 31 August 2019

11:00am – 1:00pm

Cardinia Public Hall

2401 Ballarto Road, Cardinia

 

Tuesday 3 September 2019

5:00pm – 7:00pm

Grantville Hall

1470 Bass Highway, Grantville

 

AGL and APA are currently preparing the Environment Effects Statement (EES) for the proposed Gas Import Jetty and Pipeline Project at Crib Point.

As part of the EES, independent technical experts have been employed to assess the potential environmental impacts of the gas project and produce technical studies on these environmental impacts (such as Hazard & Risk, Biodiversity, Air Quality, Noise & Vibration, Greenhouse Gas, etc)

Some experts will be available at these “drop-in sessions” to answer questions from local residents and explain their technical studies.

This EES process puts AGL in the driver’s seat – where the community should be.

If Mornington Peninsula communities had been properly consulted first, this tragically flawed proposal would be lining budgie cages.

 

Save Westernport volunteers will be in attendance at most of these meetings to ask our own questions about the EES process.

Save Westernport has been working hard to expose the environmental impacts that could pollute Westernport Bay and put at risk the health and safety of local residents.

Potential impacts include wastewater discharges into Westernport Bay affecting marine life, mangroves and migratory species, air pollution, noise and light pollution, fire and explosion risks in a designated bushfire zone, gas pipeline breaches and many more.

Westernport Bay is a Ramsar wetland of international significance, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and includes two Marine National Parks (Yaringa and French Island) which must be protected at all times.

 

We have met with local and State politicians to voice our concerns about this proposed huge gas factory and 56km gas pipeline from Crib Point to Pakenham through produce farms.

We will continue to raise awareness via radio, on-line and TV news stories and have recently appeared in Herald-Sun and Western Port News reports regarding AGL’s gas project delays.

 

We ask all Mornington Peninsula residents to attend these community meetings and ask their own questions about AGL’s gas project and its impacts on Westernport Bay

AGL already knows that Westernport communities hate their floating gas factory plan.

These drop-in sessions are a “tick-the-box”, token gesture for AGL because they can say they are taking community concerns seriously while forging ahead anyway.

But you can help turn the tables.

By coming to one of AGL’s EES-mandated drop in sessions, you can tell the company directly what you think.

Your comments will become part of the official EES record so it’s one of your best chances to be heard.

Save Westernport will be there to tell the company, again, that their destructive, self-serving plan belongs in the bin.

It’s bad for Westernport Bay, it’s bad for the climate and it’s bad for communities that want the right to decide their own future.

 

https://www.facebook.com/SaveWesternPort/

 

Breaking News! AGL Gas Project Delayed!

Breaking News! AGL Gas Project Delayed!

AGL has announced a second delay to their plan to import gas via Ramsar-listed Westernport Bay in Victoria.
 
Read here.
 
The delay comes amidst nationwide fury that Australians are paying some of the highest gas prices in the world while Australia remains the number one gas exporter.
 
Save Westernport believes AGL plan should be scrapped entirely – it’s bad for Westernport’s world-renowned wetlands, it’s bad for Westernport communities and it’s bad for the nation’s energy future.
 
But the delay is an opportunity to do better.
 
It’s time for energy companies and governments to start building a real renewable energy future.
 
Save Westernport president Louise Page said, ‘we can’t stand by and allow critical habitat like Westernport to be used by AGL to reap profits at the expense of the bay and surrounding communities. We need energy solutions that actually make sense’.
 
AGL said the delay is because the company has sourced a different ship to process its hoped-for imported gas and fits with the Environment Effects Statement (EES) timing which is now no earlier than FY20. AGL expects to reach a final investment decision on the Crib Point project following the EES outcome.
 
‘We call on Premier Daniel Andrews, Federal MP for Flinders Greg Hunt and AGL CEO Brett Redman to reject business-as-usual fixes that anchor us to the energy past,’ said Page.
 
Save Westernport, together with other organisations and outraged Westernport communities, will continue to fight AGL’s destructive Crib Point gas plan and support long-term solutions to energy supply that put people and the environment first.
 
 
 
AGL CEO Brett Redman meets Save Westernport (sort of…)

AGL CEO Brett Redman meets Save Westernport (sort of…)

On 12 June 2019, Save Westernport supporters travelled from Hastings to Melbourne to meet AGL CEO Brett Redman in person.

Brett Redman was a guest presenter at the 2019 Australian Energy Week Conference 11-14 June at the Melbourne Conference and Exhibition Centre.

It seemed an opportune time to remind Mr Redman about AGL’s lack of social licence for their proposed floating gas import and processing terminal and associated pipeline from Crib Point to Pakenham. 

Environment Victoria and Save Westernport decided it was a perfect time to present the 17,000+ signature strong “NO AGL GAS” petition and organised a bus from Hastings to the CBD.

An invitation was sent to the energy giant’s CEO asking him to meet Westernport residents outside the conference to receive the petition after his “Helping customers and community through energy transition” speech.

This request was declined. However, subsequent discussions between AGL and Save Westernport secured a private meeting with Brett the same day at 8am with Save Westernport’s Louise Page.

AGL also provided a day pass to the conference so Louise could attend the conference presentation.

So, armed with letters to Mr Redman from 10 year old Dashi Roller and another from Federal Member for Flinders, Greg Hunt MP, Jono La Nauze (CEO Environment Victoria) and Louise met Kelly Parkinson (Senior Manager Project Engagement ) and joined the AGL CEO to articulate your concerns face to face.

Our message of overwhelming opposition and disappointment that AGL is continuing on this path of damage and detriment for Westernport and in full knowledge of our climate emergency was delivered succinctly.

A reminder about the recent stand by all the Federal election candidates for Flinders served to confirm everything we had to say.

Mr Redman responded by letting us know that he is well aware of our concerns, is not in “a vacuum” and receives regular updates about the opposition to the project.

He also said that there is a supply issue and that AGL would not be undertaking capital expenditure of this magnitude without the need.

(Could that need be continued profit not just in the gas sector but also their electricity income stream? Ergo the two new gas fired electricity generators in SA and NSW?)

Mr Redman also said that Greg Hunt MP has made his views known to him on several occasions.
Thank you, Greg.

Lastly, we let him know that we are not going away and that the community’s opposition grows daily!

Don’t miss the bus! Join us in Melbourne on Wed 12 June 2019!

Don’t miss the bus! Join us in Melbourne on Wed 12 June 2019!

URGENT! URGENT! URGENT!

Catch the bus we’ve organised (free) or meet us in Melbourne!

Save Westernport are heading to Australian Energy Week 2019 on Wednesday 12 June – see here.

We are joining Environment Victoria at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre from 10:00am until 11:00am – see map here.

AGL CEO Brett Redman will deliver a speech at 9:30am “Helping customers and communities through the energy transition”.

We have over 15,000 signed petitions to present to Mr Redman and call on him to drop plans for AGL’s gas import terminal in Westernport Bay.

 

Join us on the bus!

Our bus will be leaving Hastings at 8:00am at Westernport Marina carpark. Book your bus tickets before they are all gone here.

If you are already in Melbourne, join us at the Clarendon Street entrance near the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre at 10:00am.

 

AGL do not have a ‘social licence’ to import and process gas in Westernport Bay!

Join us on Wednesday morning and tell Mr Redman “NO AGL GAS!”

 

No AGL Brett Redman

Election Candidates Support Save Westernport 1st May 2019

Election Candidates Support Save Westernport 1st May 2019

Wow – what a crowd!

Balnarring Community Hall was filled with local residents at the latest Save Westernport public meeting.

Around 450 – 500 people attended “SOS Mayday Westernport” on 1st May 2019 to hear the latest on AGL’s proposed gas project.

See the ABC News Victoria news report here.

In attendance were a number of Federal Election candidates who expressed their support for Save Westernport and opposition to AGL.

Susie Beveridge (IND), Julia Banks (IND), Joshua Sinclair (ALP), Nathan Lesslie (Greens) and Reade Smith (Sustainable Australia) all voiced their opposition to AGL’s gas plans for Westernport Bay and signed a commitment to stop AGL’s Gas Terminal.

Current Federal Member for Flinders Hon Greg Hunt MP could not attend but a personal statement of support was delivered by local Member for Hastings Neale Burgess.

Other speakers included local mussel farmer Michael “Harry” Harris, Western Port Biosphere Executive Officer Greg Hunt (no relation) and Environment Victoria Campaigns Manager Dr. Nick Aberle. The speeches and presentations were both informative and concerning on the potential impacts that AGL’s proposed gas import terminal would have on Westernport Bay.

Many thanks to all of the Environment Victoria team for helping organise the “SOS Mayday Westernport” event in such a short time frame.

Thank you to the local residents of the Mornington Peninsula who attended for being so patient and supportive on a very memorable night in Balnarring!

The Motion that was presented and supported by the local residents is shown below:

SAVE WESTERNPORT PUBLIC MEETING MOTION

1 MAY 2019

Westernport is a rich wonderland of diverse ecosystems and home to species found nowhere else in the world. Because of its outstanding natural values, the United Nations proclaimed the Westernport region a UNESCO biosphere reserve in 2002 (one of only nine in Australia). It is also listed under the Ramsar convention as a wetland of international significance and as a major site for migratory and rare birds. [1]

Given the extraordinary ecological values of Westernport, this meeting of concerned citizens in the Electorate of Flinders calls on the next Federal Government to comply with its international and national environmental obligations and use its legislative powers to stop AGL’s proposal for a Floating Storage and Regasification Unit (a gas factory) at Crib Point and accompanying pipeline through public reserves and prime agricultural land to Pakenham.

We also call on the Victorian State Government to safeguard this precious region for the economic and environmental benefit of future generations and reject the planning application by AGL.

Approval of this project will unnecessarily sacrifice the Westernport region for AGL’s profit. It will not provide a secure domestic gas supply at affordable prices.

The AGL Board knows they do not have a social licence for this proposal and we ask them to respect the widespread and vehement opposition and withdraw their proposal, forthwith.  AGL’s strategy to “manage community outrage” shows a disregard for our genuine concerns and together, we vow to maintain and intensify our outrage and our campaign until the proposal is abandoned.

[1] Based on City of Casey, ‘A description of Westernport’, https://www.casey.vic.gov.au/facilities-hire/western-port-bay

 

 

Sign New Online Petition To Save Westernport!

Sign New Online Petition To Save Westernport!

A new online petition has been submitted to the Parliament of Australia opposing the proposed AGL Gas Import Jetty project on Westernport Bay.

The petition has been submitted to the Honourable Speaker of the House of Representatives and Members of the House of Representatives.

You can sign the online petition here.

The new petition requests the Australian Government “… to stop this development and to protect the Western Port Ramsar Site consistent with our obligations under the Ramsar convention.

The petition will be open for four weeks until 3 May 2019.

The final petition will be referred to the Minister for the Environment Hon Melissa Price for her response.

Save Westernport encourages all supporters to sign this new petition and share on social media.

Send Your Questions to AGL and APA by 31 March 2019!

Send Your Questions to AGL and APA by 31 March 2019!

AGL and APA have a new survey available for local residents to raise their concerns and and ask questions about the Gas Import Jetty and Pipeline project.

The survey may be found here.

The closing date for this survey is Sunday 31st March 2019.

 

Under the Environment Effects Act 1978, all public comment from the community must be formally collected, recorded and considered by AGL and APA during the consultation period.

Issues raised by the community will also be presented to the Technical Reference Group (TRG) – a group of local councils and state government agencies (e..g EPA, WorkSafe, Parks Victoria).

The TRG will review all AGL/APA technical studies and provide advice for the Environment Effects Statement (EES) to ensure potential impacts to the environment and human health are properly addressed.

 

Save Westernport strongly encourages all local residents to submit questions to AGL and APA about any aspect of the project that concerns them.

 

Special Report – ABC News On AGL Gas Import Terminal

Special Report – ABC News On AGL Gas Import Terminal

The environmental concerns about AGL’s gas project for Crib Point were broadcast on ABC News Victoria (Sunday 24th February 2019).

Watch the full report until 27 February 2019 on ABC iview at 19:50 minutes here

Read the full story “Australia is the biggest exporter of liquid natural gas so why is Victoria facing a future shortage?” on the ABC News website here

 

ABC News reporter Jessica Longbottom delivered a summary of the issues around AGL’s proposal to import liquified natural gas (LNG) via Westernport Bay despite Australia being the world’s biggest gas exporter.

This special report included interviews with Westernport Bay mussel farmer Michael Harris, local landowners Sue and John Allnut, Louise Page from Save Westernport, Tony Wood of the Grattan Institute and Phaedra Deckart from AGL (GM of Energy Supply).

 

Ms Deckart stated “…People aren’t going to be able to turn on their heaters or we’re not going to be able to run gas-fired power generators because there just won’t be enough gas.”

“We know [the community] are … taking one for the team, I suppose, in helping Australia and particularly the southern states meet their energy supply needs,” Ms Deckart said.

This is despite the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) believing it will be another decade before gas demand outstrips supply.

 

Landowner Mr Allnut said “People, businesses, manufacturers, they need energy. I understand that, but I just wonder whether it’s more about making dollars than supplying us with energy.”

Mr and Mrs Allnut’s land backs onto the Ramsar wetlands and a new APA gas pipeline would create a 30-metre wide corridor through their property in Pearcedale.

 

Mussel producer Mr Harris is worried about the impact of chlorinated water on his mussel farm near Flinders.

“Mussels filter [and eat] algae from the water, and if anything is going to potentially harm those algae levels in Western Port Bay, then I’m concerned,” he said.

“They’re like the canaries of the sea.”

 

Louise Page from Save Westernport said, “We have no studies of the long-term effects that will have on the immediate environment and further afield.”

“There could be cold water plumes that could disturb the very sensitive marine life there … [the organisms in the seawater] are going to be dead when the water’s disgorged,” Ms Page said.

 

Despite fierce opposition to the project by Mornington Peninsula residents and local community groups, AGL is 100% committed to the project and is currently working on the Environment Effects Statement (EES) for State and Federal Government approval by the end of 2019.