The AGL Threat —Fast Facts

The AGL Threat —Fast Facts

AGL Gas Fact Sheet

What is the FSRU?

AGL’s proposal is to operate a Floating Storage and Regasification Unit (FSRU) – a giant gas tanker permanently moored at the end of a jetty, which would receive liquefied natural gas (LNG) shipments from interstate or overseas, store it, and then convert it into gas for distribution via a new pipeline that runs through high value agricultural land.

 

How polluting is the project?

AGL’s dirty gas plan will increase Victoria’s climate pollution. It will:

  • Pump 130-160 petajoules of gas per year into Victoria, almost doubling the amount of gas flowing into the state, likely reversing the shift of industry and households away from gas and weakening the move to renewable energy;
  • Involve importing gas produced by fracking, which has much higher local environmental impacts in the places where the fracking occurs; and
  • Increase the carbon pollution of gas consumption, because the gas being brought into Victoria will have been liquefied, transported long distances, re-gasified and then stored, with each step consuming energy and adding to fugitive emissions. Meaning this gas is 20 percent more polluting than gas sourced from Victoria.

What about gas prices?

The project will likely lead to higher, not lower gas prices for Victorians. This view is supported by Macquarie Bank’s thorough analysis of the price impacts of gas import terminals.. In short Macquarie Bank concludes: “We believe that any import terminal will not lower prices on the East Coast of Australia, and could potentially set a higher floor price.”1

What About a Gas Shortage ?

There is not a gas shortage in Australia, there is a problem with the gas market. The East coast of Australia currently consumes 700 petajoules of gas a year while the 1500 petajoules is exported overseas from a massive terminal in Gladstone, Queensland. There are far better policy solutions to this issue such as controls on exports or a reservation policy. Moreover gas is still a polluting and dangerous fuel that Australia needs to transition away from. There is already a transition underway in Victoria, our gas use has declined by 20% in the last 7 years. Governments should invest in supporting households and businesses to continue to switch away from gas and towards electricity powered by clean, renewable energy and storage.

What about threatened species in Westernport

Westernport Bay is an internationally listed ecosystem, recognised under the Ramsar Convention as a unique tidal bay and wetland with important ecological values.

 It is home to a number of threatened species listed under the ​Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act​ (Vic) 1988 and the ​Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act​ (Cth) 1999 such as Southern Right Whale; Humpback Whale; Far Eastern Curlew; Curlew Sandpiper; Fairy Tern; Orange-bellied Parrot; Swift Parrot; Great White Shark; Mangrove Goby; Australian Grayling; Two species Ghost Shrimp, southern brown bandicoot and coastal saltmarsh.

We have deep concerns over the threats to the habitat and welfare of these species caused by the construction and operation of the FSRU and pipeline.

What about marine impacts?

There are concerning marine impact associated with this project. These include:

  • The discharge of up to 450,000,000 litres per day of cold sea water into Westernport Bay;
  • The discharge of up to 450,000,000 litres per day of chlorinated water into Westernport Bay;
  • The risk to the ecosystem and small marine life from becoming sucked into the heat exchanger;
  • The possibility of the introduction of marine pests;
  • The impact on two species of Ghost Shrimp, both of which are considered likely to be present in low numbers in suitable habitat, about which there is extremely limited knowledge;
  • The significant increase in shipping through Western Port Bay, increasing the incidences of vessel strikes with marine mammals and marine noise.
  • The potential for fuel spills and the impact this may have on marine life. VNPA has undertaken extensive​ ​shipping oil spill modelling​ which shows the complexities and trends in movement in the Bay in addition to the impacts on​ ​birds​,​ ​mangroves, and seagrass.

What does the local community think?

There is strong local community opposition to the project. A local campaign to defend the bay from AGL’s project is entering its third year. Save Westernport (https://www.savewesternport.org/​ and the community in Westernport Bay are determined to protect the Bay’s spectacular natural values and threatened species. They have been fighting fossil fuel and port development projects in the area for many years. There are a number of different groups involved including; Westernport & Peninsula Protection Council, Blue Wedges, ​Phillip Island Conservation Society and Preserve Western Port Action Group as well as farmers along the route of the pipeline.

Tourism job numbers:

Mornington Peninsula Jobs: 9000 

GRP: $849 million Phillip Island

Jobs: 4,400

GRP: $407 m – this is 40% of local economy. Highest of any other region in Vic. These two regions together are Victoria’s biggest tourism employers.

What’s the timeframe?

AGL has presented their Environment Effects Statement to Minister Wynne. You can read it here.

Public Comments are open until August 26 2020, then there will be a public Hearing. The Minister will make a decision soon. 

 

Now is our chance to comment on the project by making a submission. AGL is Australia’s biggest climate polluter.

They are the largest polluter by more than twice the second largest who is another energy company called EnergyAustralia.

We cannot let this project go ahead! 

 

 

What can I do?

– > Make A Submission !You can make a submission about the AGL Crib Point proposal using the online form on the EngageVic website here.

– > Are you a shareholder? Come to their AGM

– > Sign up to attend the rally at their AGM

– > Donate!

 More Concerns about AGL gas terminal & APA pipeline:

If approved , the AGL proposal would have a multitude of risks and potentially disastrous impacts that should prove it to be entirely unjustifiable.

These include:

  • The construction of the 60 km pipeline to Pakenham, with its 30m wide easement that would rip through wilderness areas including Warrangine Park within the protected Ramsar wetlands, and up to 100 private properties in Melbourne’s productive food growing areas.
  • The constant risk of leak, explosion, spill, or accident from human error or equipment failure.
  • Threat of bushfire providing a potential ignition source.
  • Disturbance to nocturnal wildlife from permanent Industrial lighting at the facility.
  • Noise from the FSRU which AGL’s own reports say would be in excess of safe levels determined by the EPA.
  • Dust, vibration, and particularly air emissions from the FSRU, which AGL’s reports also say would be in excess of EPA safe levels.
  • Decrease to local property values, or difficulty insuring properties near the facility.
  • Damage to the growing economy and reputation of the Peninsula as “clean, green” food producing area and destination, compromise local wineries and businesses like the Flinders Aquaculture Reserve.
  • The disturbance and release into the water column of contaminated soils from previous industry at the jetty site, including dangerous PFAS chemicals and Potential Acid sulphite soils, described in AGL reports.
  • Danger of moorings breaking in heavy weather, causing collision with United Petrol tanker the Marie Boyle, which regularly docks at Crib Point jetty, or with LNG tankers supplying the FSRU. Westernport has notoriously shallow waters and fast moving tides.
  • Cold water, chlorination and wash from increased wash of shipping could slow or stop the recent regeneration of seagrasses and mangrove beds, without which, sediments would increasingly scour the bay, further undermining and destabilising mangrove beds. 
  • The benefit of Mangroves as an essential Carbon sink can be evaluated in direct monetary  terms, known as BLUE CARBON. As a carbon sink, Mangroves are unsurpassed and are even more effective at safely storing carbon than even rainforests. We should be doing EVERYTHING we can to protect and encourage mangroves in Westernport Bay. Nowhere on Earth are they able to grow this far south. They are a tropical species that can only grow in Westernport due to its shallow waters and warmer temperatures .
  • Mangroves are an essential species in the bay, providing roosting and foraging opportunities for several species of endangered migratory birds that should be protected by the bay’sasdf Ramsar status. Mangroves prevent erosion and coastal inundation, and are our best defence against rising sea levels and resulting coastal inundation and erosion. They also filter toxic run-off from agricultural chemicals and improve water quality and clarity.
  • Dumping of 450 million litres of chilled, chlorinated wastewater 7 degrees colder into Westernport Bay every day the Floating Storage Regasification Unit processes gas
  • Perpetuating gas use and discouraging urgently needed investment and uptake of renewable energy alternatives
  • Increased fugitive methane and other polluting air emissions, carbondioxide and particulate pollution
  • Disruption of Boon Wurrung cultural heritage sites, registered and unlisted, Indigenous artifacts and shell middens
  • New gas pipeline and 30m wide easement disrupting the region’s market gardens that contribute to Melbourne’s food bowl and enable lower ‘food miles’ for the city
  • Disruption to access of private properties along the proposed route and negatively impacting property prices
  • Industrial light spill, noise and vibration, above the water and below. Noise of visiting tankers and tugs combined with constant operation of FSRU would exceed EPA safe levels
  • Transport, storage, use, handling, disposal of gas, dangerous goods and toxic, flammable odorising gas additive called Mercaptan near a residential community and bushfire zone
  • Negative Economic, Social, Psychological and Health Impacts to community, and to the region’s reputation
  • Hazard to Life from flammable LNG, and associated risk of BLEVE- Boiling Liquid Expanding Vapour Explosion
  • Change in Visual Appearance and inevitable loss of Amenity due to large imposing new industrial facilities, visible from Phillip Island and all across Westernport Bay
  •  Estimated 40% rise in commercial shipping traffic, with unknown impacts of associated noise on all marine life.
  • Increased collision risk with migratory humpback & resident populations of marine mammals incl. burrunan Dolphin pods
  • Turbidity and silt from shipping wake, causing dieback & loss of seagrass, a species critical to healthy marine ecosystems  
  • Introduction of invasive marine pests from international LNG carriers, threat to marine life & Flinders Aquaculture Reserve
  • Increased industrial development restricting economic and tourism opportunities in Westernport & Mornington Peninsula
  • Dredging (called ‘levelling’) disrupting water movements & seabed, potential for sediment plume & coastal inundation
  • Disposal of contaminated PFAS, toxic heavy metal and acid sulfate soils from previous industry in Dredge Spoil materials 
  • Protected species of Westernport’s marine life, flora and fauna: Ghost Shrimp, Humpback Whales, Silverheaded Flying Fox, Little Penguins, Brown face Bandicoot, Migratory birds: Fairy Tern, Far Eastern Curlew, and rare Spider Orchid
  • Cumulative Impacts over time include loss of stabilising terrestrial ecology, risk of erosion, coastal inundation, loss of onshore fauna and flora habitats, critically endangered Coastal Saltmarsh communities, ecosystems & vegetation.
  • Loss of Silver Mangroves due to cold water in FSRU heat exchange, a tropical species with limitless potential for carbon biosequestration, stores more carbon than rainforest
  • FSRU would be constant an Ignition source of Bushfire in a known hazardous zone, with nearby Primary School, residential communities and Cerberus Naval Base

 

STOP AGL —

NO GAS FACTORY IN WESTERNPORT BAY!

 

 

  • 1 Macquarie Wealth Management, East Coast Gas and Infrastructure 6 July 2018

 

STOP PRESS ~ The EES is out now!

STOP PRESS ~ The EES is out now!

In 2018 Victorian Minister for Planning Richard Wynne called for an Environment Effects Statement on AGL’s giant gas import proposal in response to community concerns about countless safety and environmental risks.

The EES has now been released and the documents are available online.

Q: Why does AGL continue to publish lovely photos of Westernport on their reports?
We know how beautiful the Bay is. What we need to know is WHAT the spectre of the proposed FSRU ship, 17 storeys tall, would really look like at our beach. The pictures provided by AGL are misleading; they have been cropped and the schematics shown in their EES reports are not to scale.

The Public Comments period for the EES on AGL’s proposal on the Mornington Peninsula commenced on July 2 and will run until August 26 2020.

That’s just 40 business days for submissions, under and a declared Stage 4 State of Disaster. But we must prevent fossil fuels companies like AGL and APA the pipeline corp, from taking advantage of the global pandemic. From the threat to marine life and Endangered Species, to Social and Climate Impacts, there are countless reasons why this project must not be approved.

We encourage you all to make a submission during this time. You can focus on just single area or areas of concern to tell the Minister why you object to AGL’s dangerous and unnecessary plans. 

Or sign up here for support and advice from Save Westernport and Environment Victoria on how to make your submission. 

Minister Wynne needs to hear from this community, and from all Victorians why AGL’s plans to import and process gas, and to construct a 60 km gas pipeline are entirely incompatible with the proposed location in Westernport Bay.

There is nothing that AGL could do to tweak this project to make it acceptable. The government and Victorians have been misled with tales of gas shortages and cheaper prices, with AGL only now admitting that the price of imported gas would be set by international markets.

Rather than helping us transition from fossil fuels as they claim, AGL’s project would keep us burning gas for the next 20 years or more.

This project is the last thing we need. AGL have shown they are not worthy of our trust, and they’ve admitted it will not result in cheaper gas. Why would we risk degrading our precious marine life, when there is NOTHING in it for Victorians? 
This is our chance to tell the Minister why AGL’s project MUST NOT BE APPROVED.

The EES reports are now available online
This includes  AGL’s Summary Report and a document called How to Navigate the EES

There’s an Executive Summary, three volumes of reports, and several attachments including Environmental Risk and Climate Change Risk Assessments and Maps. 
The EES also contains the following technical reports:

Technical Report A: Marine Biodiversity 
Technical Report C: Surface water
Technical Report D: Groundwater
Technical Report F: Greenhouse gas
Technical Report G: Air quality
Technical Report H: Noise and vibration
Technical Report I: Landscape and visual
Technical Report J: Transport
Technical Report K: Safety, hazard and risk
Technical Report L: Land use
Technical Report M: Social
Technical Report N: Business
Technical Report O: Agriculture
Technical Report P: Aboriginal cultural heritage
Technical Report Q: Historic heritage


Watch this space for more information about how to write your submission —and make sure your voice is heard.

This is our opportunity to tell Minister Wynne that we unequivocally object to the AGL corporation and their brazen and foolhardy attempt to take-over Woolleys Beach and exploit Westernport Bay to promote and prolong the burning of LNG, a fossil fuel just as dangerous as coal.

There are numerous reasons why we have no intention of allowing this irresponsible corporation’s plans to harm our precious environment and endanger the health and safety of local communities.

Make a submission or Donate now towards our fighting fund. Your donations will help pay for our own experts to refute the various technical reports and to take on AGL with their limitless resources at the public Hearings for the EES.

Westernport Shoreline Vigil

Westernport Shoreline Vigil

At sunset on Mid-winter’s Eve, Westernport locals took to their favourite beaches in uncounted numbers for a socially-distanced Shoreline Vigil to light a candle in a show of affection and support for Westernport and of opposition to AGL 

From Flinders through Shoreham, Point Leo, Merricks, Balnarring, Somers, Crib Point,  Hastings and around the Bay to French and Phillip Islands and beyond, we stood vigil to symbolise our determination to stand by Westernport.

As people become aware that AGL’s gas proposal would exacerbate the climate crisis and lock us in to decades more fossil fuel use, there’s a growing sense of anger that AGL is not listening to the community.

More and more people are prepared  to do whatever’s necessary to protect the Bay from the exploitation and degradation of new heavy industry, like AGL’s gas import proposal at Crib Point.

There’s a growing expectation on AGL to live up to their own policies that make admirable claims about their performance in sustainability and accountability, by withdrawing their Environment Effects Statement (EES), which is due to go on display in early July.

These qualities that matter to an informed public are also increasingly influencing international markets as they continue to divest en masse from last century’s energy technologies .

The Westernport community will be making the most of the opportunity for the public to comment once the EES goes on display, by expressing our fervent opposition to AGL’s ill advised plans. 

We believe AGL has an excellent opportunity to lead in the real energy transition as it gathers pace on every front, rather than continuing to promote the deeply concerning view that gas is a transition fuel and ‘a safer option than coal’.

We’ll let you know when the Environment Effects Statement goes on display in early July. AGL’s reports will all be available online.  Public comments will be open for just 40 days. Save Westernport and Environment Victoria encourage you to make a submission against the AGL gas import proposal in Westernport Bay during that time.

Submissions from the public don’t have to be technical. To make sure Minister Wynne’s hears your views, we’ll be providing assistance and support during the public comments stage.

You can read more about the EES in the Mornington Peninsula News, and sign up here to receive our regular Newsletter updates.

Thanks 

Julia
Secretary Save Westernport Inc
secretary@gmail.com

AGL’s EES due for release.

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/

Its time to dump AGL

Its time to dump AGL

Friends,

Protecting Westernport Bay, our communities, and our climate means stopping
AGL and their dirty gas plans.

Nearly 5000 of you pledged to boycott AGL should they press on with their gas import terminal plans at Westernport. This week AGL have notified the community that the environmental assessment process will soon begin. AGL’s CEO Brett Redman also recently called for the government to fast track this assessment.

 

It’s clear that AGL have not listened to us.

So now we rally.

Now we show AGL that we mean business.

What: Online Rally against AGL
When: Tomorrow (Thursday 11 June) at 12pm-1:30pm AEST
Where: Online – RSVP here to get the Zoom link: https://envict.org/ditchAGL

Those of you who are AGL customers for your gas or electricity can show AGL we mean business, by changing to a new provider of your choosing.

You can make the switch during the rally tomorrow.
It’s simple to do – 
Here are two independent resources to help you decide which energy provider you’ll switch to:

  • Victorian Energy Compare (by the Victorian State government)
    https://compare.energy.vic.gov.au/retailers
  • Green Electricity Guide (by Greenpeace Australia Pacific)
    https://www.greenelectricityguide.org.au/

For those of us who ditched AGL some time ago, tomorrow we will take action to show
everyone else in our networks what AGL is trying to do.

If enough of us join, AGL will feel the heat.

I can’t wait to take action with you tomorrow!

Victor
on behalf of Environment Victoria and Save Westernport

EES Update from Minister Wynne

EES Update from Minister Wynne

EES UPDATE 

Last week the Victorian Minister for Planning announced how the Public Exhibition Stage of AGL’s Environment Effects Statement will be run. AGL have ignored public opposition to push ahead with their unnecessary gas import proposal in beautiful Westernport Bay.
Read what the Minster said here.

Since March this year Save Westernport has written to Minister Wynne twice asking him to postpone the Environment Effects Statement . This would be consistent with the many Government processes that have been pushed back due to the restrictions of COVID-19.
You can read Save Westernport’s letter to Minister Wynne here

Our letter to the Minister was supported by similar requests from diverse groups and individuals. Letters from Victoria National Parks Association (VNPA), Mornington Peninsula Shire Council’s Mayor Sam Hearn, and from concerned members of this community  represent just a fraction of the requests that the Minister received.

To enable us to make the strongest possible representation against AGL’s irresponsible plans, Save Westernport will need to meet the significant costs of engaging experienced legal council and expert witnesses to go up against AGL’s hired guns to represent this community’s interests at the EES Hearing.

It’s difficult to reconcile that it’s up to community groups like Save Westernport, with our limited resources, to go up against the vested interests of enormous corporations and the governments that support them, in order to demonstrate the extent of public opposition and concern about the destructive commercial exploitation of the natural environment.

Westernport’s significant marine ecology and remnant coastal ecosystems deserve the highest level of protection. But AGL’s long list of convictions and fines for toxic spills and environmental mismanagement makes you wonder if they are capable of overseeing the safe operation of a gas processing plant in a protected Ramsar wetland.

Although the EES offers Victoria’s highest level of environmental protection, whether or not Westernport’s internationally recognised marine ecosystems are compatible with the transport, processing and storage of LNG will now be assessed according to a process that is notoriously haphazard and relies on the discretion and views of just a single Minister. 

In the Mornington Peninsula News last week Save Westernport was quoted “It is essential that the Victorian Minister for Planning remains beyond the influence of the project proponent AGL”.

Prioritising a sustainable future for our local economy, and of people’s health and well-being above the encroachment of  industry and the threat of new fossil fuels projects will  require the organisation and power of a unified community.

Our effectiveness during the EES Hearing will depend on the amount of money we’re able to raise to fund our legal representation and technical advice. On the homepage of our website we have a DONATE button. https://savewesternport.org/  

We ask you to consider what you’re able to contribute towards this community’s representation during the EES , and decide what the value of a healthy future for Westernport is worth to you.

It was our hope that the Minister would agree to this community’s repeated request to defer the EES while COVID-19 restrictions remain in place. His decision that it will proceed will mean that while people’s lives are still disrupted by COVID-19, and many continue working and schooling their kids from home, we will have just 40 days (instead of 30) to respond to the thousands of pages of Technical reports AGL has contracted its experts to prepare in support of their application.

Without doubt these reports will claim that any disadvantages AGL may cause to the health, the economy, the environment, the people or the climate can all be justified, because the project is considered financially viable. The only thing of any consequence to AGL. as proponent of this ill-advised project, is whether they can expect to profit from it. For Westernport, so much more is at stake.

For the past two years, Members of Save Westernport have spent countless hours to fight and delay AGL’s proposal. It’s time now for the Westernport community to concentrate their opposition and determination to make sure this ill-advised proposal never gets approved.

The AGL reports will be released sometime before the end of June. 
During the EES hearing we’ll require expert witnesses, and people to help us write a strong submission against AGL.

If you know someone with experience in the following key areas, please contact us at secretary@savewesternport.org
We hope to raise enough money to fund this work.

  • Endangered Species
  • Ramsar Wetlands
  • Social, Economic, Loss of Amenity, Planning Impacts
  • Pollution: Air Water Light Noise
  • Bushfire/Risk/Safety

Save Westernport will be encouraging and supporting community members to write their own submissions against the AGL proposal, When we have any further information, we’ll let you know. 

You can register on our website for our regular Newsletter updates, and BECOME A MEMBER of Save Westernport. https://savewesternport.org/  

Your support now is more important, and more appreciated than ever as we prepare to Save Westernport from AGL.

Warm Regards,
Julia Stöckigt, Secretary SWP Inc

Please contact us at secretary@savewesternport.org

 

 

An overview of environmental impact assessment under the Environment Effects Act 1978

An overview of environmental impact assessment under the Environment Effects Act 1978

Courtesy of Environmental Justice Australia

To read this important ‘Having your say’ paper, please go to this link
Please note that although these fact sheets focus on mines and quarries, the Environment Effects Statement (EES)
process will be the same for the AGL gas import project.

AGL have delivered their EES report to DELWP

AGL have delivered their EES report to DELWP

In the final week of April, Save Westernport received some important news about the Environment Effects Statement, or EES for the Crib Point proposal. According to AGL, the reports for their Gas Import proposal have now been submitted to the Department for Environment Land Water and Planning, (DELWP). 

Although we’ve been waiting nearly 2 years for the opportunity to read the details of AGL’s plans and raise our concerns about the project, many are now wondering “how can the Public Exhibition period required for the EES possibly go ahead under current COVID-19 restrictions?” 
AGL’s apparent push for the EES to proceed without consideration for the implications of the current state of emergency on people’s lives is consistent with the contempt they’ve shown this community and its wishes ever since their incursion into Westernport began in 2017.                                                                                                                

It is essential that the Minister remains beyond the influence of AGL. By making use of his discretionary powers, he can ensure that the EES does not proceed in a way that is rushed or that appears to give the proponent an advantage. Compromising the effectiveness of the EES to accomodate the proponent would be highly inappropriate, particularly if it incorporates new untried methods that could be seen to discourage community involvement or that limit the effectiveness of their contribution. 
No precedent exists for an EES to be held only online.

The Save Westernport Steering Committee strongly believes that the EES must not proceed under these conditions, and we have emailed the Victorian Minister for Planning Richard Wynne, asking him to postpone the Public Exhibition phase until the restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic have been lifted. (See below)

We urge you to support our request to the Minister by emailing or calling his office today. Please tell him the Public Exhibition stage must be postponed to allow the community to engage in an EES process that is balanced and fair – and is perceived as such. 
You are welcome to incorporate parts of our example letter , or use it to inspire your own.
Please send it torichard.wynne@parliament.vic.gov.au

We would very much appreciate it (optional ofcourse!) if you could BCC us in to your email to the Minister using this address:
secretary@savewesternport.org

  • Call Mr Wynne at his Parliamentary office: (03) 8683 0964

  • Inform our local Members and other Ministers. Let’s make sure our political leaders are in no doubt about the extent of this Community’s opposition to to AGL’s plans and concern about the way its environmental impacts will be assessed.
    This list makes it easy, just click on each Members’ email to send them a message (and bcc us in), or call them to make your views known. 

Federal Member for Flinders  Greg Hunt     (03) 5977 9082
greg.hunt.mp@aph.gov.au           

Victorian Minister for Environment and Energy, Lily d’Ambrosio lily.d’ambrosio@parliament.vic.gov.au      9637 9504

Premier  Daniel Andrews    03 9651 5000   daniel.andrews@parliament.vic.gov.au  

Victorian Member for Nepean    (03) 5986 6661.  
chris.Brayne@parliament.vic.gov.au
     

Victorian Member for Hastings   (03) 5977 5600
neale.burgess@parliament.vic.gov.au     

Victorian Treasurer Tim Pallas   (03) 9741 1133. tim.pallas@parliament.vic.gov.au

Victorian Minister for Ports Melissa Horne     03 8392 8020   Melissa.Horne@parliament.vic.gov.au

Please consider the urgency of this request, and write to Mr Wynne and your Ministers today.

Our request will have far more impact if it is supported by you.

Please forward this information to everyone you know who opposes AGL’s plans in Westernport, asking them to also appeal to Minister Wynne to insist that the time frame for the EES is reassessed in the context of COVID-19.

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Save Westernport’s letter to Minister Richard Wynne:                                                                                                                     30 March 2020 

The Hon Richard Wynne MP                                                                                    Minister for Planning PO Box 500                                                                                                               East Melbourne 3002

Dear Minister 

Re Crib Point AGL gas import jetty and APA Crib Point-Pakenham gas pipeline (2018-R05) Environment Effects Statement: Request for delay in exhibiting the EES due to COVID -19 until the pandemic is over

As you’re aware, Save Westernport Inc is a community group representing many thousands of people around the Mornington Peninsula and Westernport Bay who are deeply concerned about the potential impacts of AGL’s Crib Point Gas Import Jetty and Pipeline proposal.

We are particularly concerned that AGL’s project continues to threaten the Westernport community, its Ramsar wetlands and many areas of high conservation value.

Based on the latest information from the proponents and DELWP, we understand that the exhibition period for this EES is currently scheduled to commence in late May to early June 2020.

In light of unprecedented Government measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19, we are writing to request the postponement of the Exhibition period of this EES, until all current bans and shutdowns are lifted, and the pandemic has been declared over by W.H.O. and/or the Victorian government. 
Current COVID-19 restrictions go to the heart of how we operate and connect with our communities, and while the internet can provide some limited means of communication, we can no longer hold public meetings or work together collectively to plan our response to the proponents’ reports, and prepare for the various aspects of the EES, and the implications of AGL’s plans.

The exhibition phase is intended to be a period of widespread consultation, but current stay-at-home measures will prevent community organisations and the general public from effectively participating in this important part of the EES process.

The extent of public concern and interest regarding these proposals is immense. This is especially true on the Mornington Peninsula, and on Phillip and French Islands, where it’s unlikely most communities will have ready access to either a physical copy of the EES, or to reliable internet services to download the material.

The Public Exhibition period is called this because under the Act, copies of the proponents’ reports are exhibited, or made available in local libraries for the public to view. We are concerned that current lockdown restrictions that require the closure of public libraries will make it impossible for the public to view these documents. These restrictions will continue for the foreseeable future.

Our advice from DELWP has been that this is among the most complex EESs ever undertaken in Victoria. The proponents’ reports are likely to be highly technical and voluminous. This is because AGL’s proposal is extremely complex and essentially comprises two projects in one: the FSRU floating gas factory, for which there is no precedent in Australia, and the 56km high pressure LNG pipeline, through protected wetlands and productive market gardens.

After waiting nearly two years for these reports to be finalised, we are extremely concerned that the community’s opportunity to submit their objections to the proposal will be severely compromised.

Attempting to hold this EES online would severely restrict public involvement, and result in far fewer submissions—an outcome that would greatly greatly benefit the proponents, AGL.

Without effective participation, the EES process will be deeply flawed and will not be representative of relevant and widespread community perspectives and views on this proposed project.  

The Hearing during public inquiry phase could not be held at all under current conditions as this involves public meetings and presentations that will also need to be delayed.

According to the Ministerial Guidelines the EES process is designed to be flexible. We strongly submit this project is exceptional; it is unique and its impacts are both extensive and long term. Accordingly, we respectfully ask that you apply your discretionary power to postpone the EES. 

Business-as-Usual cannot apply in these difficult and unprecedented times of COVID-19  pandemic. We appreciate your considered and timely response to our urgent request in the current exceptional circumstances.

Yours  sincerely                

Secretary, Save Westernport Inc.                                                 

 

 

Continue reading “AGL have delivered their EES report to DELWP”

EPBC Act Review public submissions UPDATE- now open til May 1  2020

EPBC Act Review public submissions UPDATE- now open til May 1 2020

The Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) is under review for the first time in many years.

IMPORTANT UPDATE :
The Public Comments period has just been extended!
The EPBC website now states that the initial April 17 deadline for submissions has now been extended til May 1 2020

It is vital that members of our community make submissions to this EPBC Act review to ensure that laws relating to inappropriate industrial developments in Ramsar wetlands, such as the proposed AGL gas import terminal project in Westernport Bay, are not modified or watered-down.
 
Why not make a Submission to tell the review panel why you care about making sure Australia’s environmental protection laws are strong enough to do what they are supposed to do…protect the environment?
These Laws must be strong enough to stand up to proposals driven by profit over the protection of native wildlife and habitat. They must not facilitate bad developments or make it easier for irresponsible industries to gain approvals, or “regulate themselves”. The Laws must guarantee that decisions and approvals processes for all new developments prioritise the conservation of our precious water and endangered ecosystems.

Some possible suggestions could be:
> The EPBC review panel is currently weighted towards industry and the economy, with several members with those backgrounds, and  lacks anyone with experience in environmental conservation and biodiversity or even with a background in science. 
This insufficiency is deeply concerning when the gravity and significance of this review is considered, with all its repercussions.

> The Act must acknowledge Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders as the Traditional Owners of this Country, and consultation processes should be adapted and extended to incorporate the oral traditions where appropriate for sharing knowledge on Country, Culture and Law.

> New industrial proposals must comply with accepted Climate Emergency goals that limit temperature rise to below 1.5 degrees, and must only be approved if  it can be shown that they’re  
entirely necessary and preferable to the ‘no project’ scenario. Economic benefit alone is insufficient to offset any risks or impacts of a new project.

>New projects that make use of sites already degraded by industry must be prioritised over projects requiring further destruction or degradation of established or regenerating native habitat.
 
> Measures aimed at making it simpler for new projects to be approved (such as the current “One-stop-shop” goal for approvals) really should be beyond the scope of Environmental Protection laws.

> It is incumbent on Environmental protection laws to look first and foremost at the likely impacts of new projects on the proposed site, on its setting and on the areas beyond it, particularly concerning the management of wastewater and effluent from Industry and impacts on  high value conservation areas.

The EPBC Act is Australia’s primary national environmental legislation and this statutory review commenced on 29 October 2019 with Professor Graeme Samuel AC appointed as the independent reviewer. An Expert Panel has been appointed with three members: Bruce Martin, Erica Smyth and Wendy Craik – see member details here

This review will examine the EPBC Act, how it operates and consider changes needed to ensure the Act can manage current and future environmental challenges.

The EPBC Act is designed to regulate activities that may impact on environmental values of national importance.

These environmental values include Ramsar wetlands, native flora and fauna species, migratory species, protection of endangered species and biodiversity, national parks and marine parks, world heritage areas and our water resources.

Submissions may be made via the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment website here.

To assist members of our community on how to write a submission, a guide and examples of EPBC Act submissions may be found here.

The EPBC Act review online submission form can be found here.

Further details on this review of the EPBC Act can be found here. 

The final report from this review will be available in October 2020.

~the people sign~rally for Westernport ~POSTPONED

~the people sign~rally for Westernport ~POSTPONED

Like everyone else, Save Westernport and Environment Victoria have been closely following the developments around COVID-19 and public health advice.

To reduce the risk to all of us of being exposed to the virus and ensure that our events are safe for everybody, we have made the decision to postpone the People Sign Beach Rally that was planned for Sunday March 29 on Somers Beach.

Instead, we will be meeting online on March 29 at 7:30pm to discuss our visions for protecting Westernport permanently from heavy industrialisation and pollution. You can RSVP here.

We believe this is the most responsible thing to do to ensure that we are not contributing to the spread of the virus, and to protect our collective health and all those that we have contact with in our daily lives. 

We are disappointed that these circumstances mean we can’t all gather together on March 29th but we are still excited about getting together online to talk about our visions for protecting our Bay permanently from heavy industrialisation and pollution.

You can RSVP here. Here is a how-to guide demonstrating how to use zoom for online meetings. If you would like a call beforehand to discuss how to use zoom, let us know by responding to this email. 

Even though COVID-19 has put a temporary break on our in-person protests and actions we are not giving up the fight. We will simply find new ways to express our outrage together and tell AGL to drop their plans for a gas import terminal in our Bay.

We will confirm new dates for the People Sign so that it can proceed at a later date that is safe for everyone.

Key things for your action now:

  1. RSVP to the zoom call.
  2. Let us know if you need a call from us to help you use zoom.

Can’t make this time? We will host a second webinar. Click here to let us know which time works for you.

If you have any questions, please contact me by responding to this email.

In solidarity, 
Victor Komarovsky
And the teams at Environment Victoria and Save Westernport