Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Woodside's incomplete, incorrect and incompetent reports on James Price Point

Only because of a Freedom of Information application did it come to light that the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) had deferred the finalization date of their report on the Strategic Assessment for the Browse LNG, proposed for Walmadan (James Price Point) again.

Why? Because Woodside continues to provide numerous incomplete, incorrect and incompetent reports on the proposed LNG refineries at James Price Point. This time it was their dredging reports that fell short of the truth.

Still there has not been an official media release, no open public statement nor has there been any information on their decision to defer their Report on the EPA’s website. Surely, informing the thousands of people who made submissions to the SAR about this delay would be the ethical and professional action to take, given the local, state, national and international controversies surrounding the project.

It’s been left up to the public to uncover a whole range of very valid environmental and the blatant incompetence in the majority of Woodside’s research and reports. Over two years, the Broome Community members and scientists have proven and exposed that most of Woodside’s reports on whales, dugongs, turtles, dolphins, sea grass, heritage-listed dinosaur track sites, endangered bilbies, and the ecological endangered vine thickets (remnant rainforest) have been famished for facts.

If we had the finances we could easily prove that many of their engineering and technical construction issues could also be ripped to shreads. However, just given the simple facts like Woodside are seriously considering building the nation’s largest industrialised zone on sand dunes, in a location that experiences some of the world’s largest tides, in a region has been identified as the four fastest place in the world to be effected by rising sea levels due to climate change and it’s been predicted through science (something Woodside knows little about) will be subjected to more extreme weather conditions. Surely, these particulars should sound the alarm bells in the pocket ears of their shareholders.

You only have to take a flight over the coastal strip of the Dampier Peninsula during high tides or storm activity to visible see and clearly grasp how the ocean sediment moves along this coast, how fast it travels and the distance carried. You do not have to be a rocket scientist to understand that this sediment travels north to south, from James Price Point directly to Gantheaume Point in Broome and any dredging regime would see the staining and fouling of the ironic Cable Beach.

If we have not learn from the current anguish being experienced in Gladstone and the present fears for the Great Barrier Reef because of the dredging and dumping of highly toxic wastes, what will it take to convince people, especially the local fishing club and their members?

They can kiss their fish but they can also kiss their famously popular fishing location known as the peanut or puddle goodbye, should this lunacy be executed and a massive industrial port is built in the fishing haven.

But the dredging issue is but one of the many outstanding grim concerns that have not been adequately addressed by Woodside.
• Water use and access,
• the proposed kilometers of breakwater and jetty constructions,
• cumulative and downstream impacts,
• projected greenhouse gas emissions during and after construction (not to mention the emissions from the rigs source themselves),
• incessant marine and atmospheric contamination,
• ecological significance of local Monsoon Vine Thickets,
• source and types of toxic and noxious emissions,
• noise and light contamination,
• wastes disposal,
• nature of health problems for workers and residents (east as far as Derby, as the wind and crows fly)
• and the unbearable loss of a safe and progressive community.

The EPA also has a statutory duty to consider Aboriginal heritage and culture issues arising from proposals under assessment where the impacts arising from a proposal on the biophysical environment may adversely affect such matters.

Recently, the EPA in one of its assessment reports concluded that a physical place having a cultural significance to Aboriginal persons may properly fall within the definition of ‘environment’ in the EP Act. In addition, the EPA advised that if it becomes aware that Aboriginal heritage (relevant to a specific site or sites) is a potential issue, it is obliged to determine its relevance.

Joseph Roe, Goolarabooloo Law man speaking, in Country with Members of the EPA Board about his cultural heritage,and his obligations to that Law. He is explaining that the Songline is in fact one continuous site, traveling the entire length of the Dampier Peninsular, Nov 2011.

EPA may determine proposals unacceptable on the basis of impacts of heritage and culture. So when and how is the EPA going to meet these obligations in their assessment given the fact that EPA Board members were shown some of the Aboriginal Heritage Sites along the Song Cycle last year by the Goolarabooloo Traditional Owners, within the heart of this criminal proposal?

Meanwhile, Woodside’s long awaited social impacts report appears to be firmly stuck in the pipe line and like all their other supplementary reports concealed from public view. Phone polls of residents have been conducted over the last couple of weeks by a company based in Tasmania, but nothing is known as who they are working for.

No one had any idea that the Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities employed Dr Annie Holden, from ImpaxSIA Consulting, in March 2011 to undertake an independent expert peer review of the Social Impact Assessment. These components of the Browse LNG Precinct Strategic Assessments were compiled by Department of State Development and the Kimberley Land Council.

So why the Broome community wasn’t informed that a peer reviewed report on the social impacts reports was undertaken and why were its findings cloak-and-dagger? Why has it taken yet another Freedom of Information application and over year since its completion to obtain access to this Report?

Well, if you read the open paragraph in the summary findings I am sure all will be made clear. Follow the link provided below to access the complete report.

Summary Findings
In relation to the SIA, the interpretation of the results and the assessment itself are inadequate. In particular, in view of the size of the construction workforce (up to 6,000 workers for two years),consideration of likely impacts and impact management associated with construction should be more clearly separated out from likely impacts and impact management during the operational phase. I am also of the view that some negative social impacts that could potentially occur at the margins of the affected communities, associated with the presence of the construction workforce, are either not identified at all or are seriously under-estimated.

So all this brings into question what other reports are being keep undisclosed and why is the EPA acting unlawfully in not releasing the many supplementary submissions, reports and information summaries to the public?

We also must remember that the EPA-approved Browse LNG Scoping Report, which clearly stated that a comprehensive Peer Review Panel would be established to assess the whole SAR because of the complexity of the project. However, now the EPA considers that this process is no longer necessary, despite the obvious and widespread flaws in the studies the proponent has provided to the EPA.

Given the seriousness of the issues at stake and the irreversible consequences of any decision to approve it, the EPA has a responsibility to Broome and its surrounding communities, the public of WA, our environment and the Goolarabooloo Traditional Owners to conduct this assessment with the utmost rigor and transparency and to report without fear or favour, however long it takes so as to ensure all the ts are crossed and the i’s dotted.

ImpaxSIA 2011 Final Peer Review Browse Basin SIA-3

1 comment:

  1. More great work well done again.
    So many things you need money for,the Gladstone trip,experts to look at all the reports,lots of other investigations and information gathering,it's not fair.
    We will pray for funds for you.