Saturday, January 19, 2013

Calls of conflict as planner resigns to work on gas site | The Australian

Calls of conflict as planner resigns to work on gas site | The Australian:
Mr Kotsoglo's decision to move directly from independently assessing the planning merits of the Woodside project to having an economic interest in its construction has angered those opposed to the gas plant.

It is the latest in a string of controversies in the approvals required for the project to go ahead.

The West Australian Environmental Protection Authority's decision to approve the project last year sparked outrage when it was revealed that chairman Paul Vogel had assessed the project by himself because the other four board members had declared conflicts of interest.

Mr Kotsoglo chaired a heated meeting in Broome last year at which the KJDAP granted retrospective planning approval to Woodside to conduct site works at James Price Point, a move that went against the recommendation of Broome Shire.

Mr Kotsoglo
The shire refused to endorse the application on the basis that it had insufficient time for community consultation.

According to the following minutes, Mr Kotsoglo was still part of the DAP in mid December.

Planning Solutions is a specialised town planning practice committed to providing exceptional customer service. Offering an extensive network of contacts, our professionally qualified consultants are dedicated to satisfying your every need for economical, innovative and expeditious solutions.
Managing Director
M:  0413 802 627
Paul is the Founding Director of Planning Solutions. Paul has extensive town planning experience both as a consultant and municipal planner at the most senior levels. His specialty is urban and regional planning with an emphasis on coordinating, managing and working with multi-disciplinary project teams on complex projects throughout Australia.

Paul has had extensive experience as an expert witness in the areas associated with planning practice in the Town Planning Appeals Tribunal, State Administrative Tribunal and the Supreme Court of Western Australia.

Paul has an extensive record of achievement in the Planning Institute of Australia (PIA) and has participated as part of commendation winning teams in the Western Australian Civic Design Awards, and the Planning Institute of Australia Awards for Excellence.

Paul is currently the Immediate Past President of the Planning Institute of Australia (WA Division) and has represented PIA on the Planning Reform Industry Reference Group, established by the Department of Planning and Infrastructure for the reform of the State's planning processes.

Paul is the Presiding Member for two of the independent State Government Panels, the City of Perth Local Development Assessment Panel and the Kimberley Joint Development Assessment Panel.
Membership: Fellow of the Planning Institute of Australia (WA)

Development Assessment Panels are undemocratic and have  been set up to override community and Shire Council decisions. Commonly referred, in Broome as the DO AS YOU PLEASE
The last time Paul was in Broome was to stamp the retrospective planning approval was for work undertaken illegally by Woodside in 2011. Despite the absurdity of the proposal, Kimberley Joint Development Assessment Panel has voted to give Woodside conditional planning approval for retrospective and future works at James Price Point until December 2013.
The matter was heard by the DAP panel on February 17, even though Broome Shire councilors had refused to endorse the application at their meeting last night on the grounds there had been insufficient time for community consultation.

In response, several community members threw copies of the 150 page application at the panel as other stormed out of council chambers en masse shouting “shame” and “corruption of process”.

Broome Shire President Graeme Campbell had voted against the panel assessing the application because it had not been endorsed by councilors.

However, DAP presiding member Paul Kotsoglo said while the panel could receive reports for consideration, it did not have to take recommendations into account.

It was his opinion that the matter could proceed, he said. Other members agreed.

The company has been granted conditional planning approval for activities including hydrological investigations, construction of a meteorological tower, construction of fenced off areas, a helicopter landing zone and geotechnical work at the site of its proposed gas plant.

Panel members said the company must prepare a comprehensive environmental management plan, approved by the Shire and Department of Environment and Conservation, before it can carry out any works.

Only five Panel picked community members were given five minutes each to oppose the application and cited concerns about Woodside’s record of compliance with Shire planning approvals and environmental management.

However, the conditional approval was passed unanimously.

This decision was challenged in the Courts by Richard Hunter. Represented by the Environmental Defender’s Office, Mr Hunter originally brought civil action against the Shire of Broome and the Kimberley Joint Development Assessment Panel, claiming an important report was not considered by the KJDAP prior to Woodside being granted approvals to work at the site in February.

In June 18, 2012 the West Australian Government joined a legal wrangle over the controversial James Price Point site which had already delayed drilling plans and halted works on areas of  cultural significance.

A lawyer representing WA Planning Minister John Day appearing in the Supreme Court in Perth said development of the Browse LNG precinct was “a matter of public importance” Mr Hunter wanted to include material explaining the cultural significance of the site for the Goolarabooloo people, but Woodside has argued this was irrelevant to a “sterile” legal question over whether Woodside met all procedural requirements to secure recent approvals to work on the site. 

Then on the 26th of June, the Planning Minister John Day suddenly amending the planning instrument a week before the Court of Appeal was due to heard. He amended the planning processes so Woodside could conduct preliminary works on the James Price Point gas hub even if approvals granted by the Kimberley Joint Development Assessment Panel were deemed invalid.



  1. Do we have a "conflict of interest" counter?

    Because I have definately lost count.

    Roadline and Bergman.

    The new road and the Aecom swindle.

    This camp corruption.

    Woodside workers in the Premiers office.

    "The committee of One."

    And it seems the endless stream of people who have worked on Browse turning up in the permits departments.

    Lord knows what else?

    We are drowning in corruption!

  2. Labor's uphill battle for power

    Mark McGowan has made no headway in his 12 months as Labor leader against Colin Barnett and the Liberals, according to the latest Westpoll, which shows Perth's transport congestion woes have emerged as the defining issue of the election campaign.

    The Statewide poll of 400 voters reveals Labor's primary vote has risen just 1 point to 30 per cent in the year since Mr McGowan replaced Eric Ripper as Opposition Leader, while the two-party preferred result is unchanged at 59 per cent to the Liberal-Nationals Government and 41 per cent to Labor.

    With seven weeks until the March 9 poll, gains detected in a July Westpoll that showed Mr McGowan had begun to narrow the gap have been erased.

    Mr Barnett is preferred as Premier by 51 per cent of those polled compared with 48 per cent a year ago, while Mr McGowan is preferred by just 35 per cent, compared with 33 when he took over the reins.

    The electorate believes the result is a foregone conclusion, with 70 per cent of those polled saying the Liberal-Nationals Government would retain power compared with just 20 per cent who believe Labor can engineer an upset.

    Latest odds from bookmaker have the Government at $1.10 to be returned, with Labor paying $6.


    As the Gallop and Carpenter Labour governments showed us they are just as corrupt as the Liberals.

    Brian Burke (who now looks saintly..almost) Julian Grills,John Bowler,Sheila McHale,the FMG scandal and countless others.Not much different to what we are now getting in the Kimberley.


    As a life long Labour voter,who has worked in construction for most of my life, and quit voting Labour some years back,I feel very strange saying this,but I'm voting Green!

    The two major parties both state and federal STINK!

  3. China and Japan continue fight over gas islands.

    TOKYO (AFP) - Three Chinese government ships on Saturday entered Japanese territorial waters around disputed islands, Japan's coastguard said, hours after a veiled US warning to Beijing not to challenge Tokyo's control.

    The surveillance vessels sailed in waters around the islands known as the Senkakus in Japan and Diaoyus in China for nearly five hours, the coastguard said.

    The vessels had all left Japanese waters by 1:52 pm (0452 GMT) and were travelling away from the East China Sea islands, which are controlled by Tokyo but claimed by Beijing, a coastguard official said.

    China has repeatedly sailed into the waters since Japan nationalised the chain in September, a move that triggered anger and demonstrations in China.

    Clinton said "We want to see China and Japan resolve this matter peacefully through dialogue."

    "We do not want to see any action taken by anyone that could raise tensions or result in miscalculation that would undermine the peace, security and economic growth in this region," she added.

    The United States insists it is neutral on the ultimate sovereignty of the islands.

    China has repeatedly criticised the US position and the sending of maritime surveillance ships to the potentially GAS - RICH AREA is seen by experts as a way to contest the notion that Japan holds effective control.

    1. BEIJING (AFP) - China said it was "strongly dissatisfied" Sunday after US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton issued a veiled warning to Beijing not to challenge Tokyo's control of disputed islands at the centre of a bitter territorial row.

      China is "strongly dissatisfied with and resolutely opposes" the remarks, Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said in a statement on the ministry's website.

      China has persistently criticised the US position and Beijing's sending of maritime surveillance ships to the potentially gas-rich area is seen by experts as a way to contest the notion of Japanese control.

      Complicating the issue is a security treaty that obliges the US -- which keeps military bases in Japan -- to aid the country in the event it is attacked.

      Last week, state media said China will carry out a geographical survey of the islands and also reported that China's armed forces have been instructed to raise their fighting ability in 2013 with "the objective of being able to fight and win a battle".

      Another factor that has raised tensions is the coming to power last month of hawkish Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, whose party won a landslide victory in elections.

  4. All this madness for a shore based gas plant,as if we are the only country with gas,or almost as if Browse was the only gas on the planet.

    And yet EVERY DAY there are headlines like this :


    Huge gas field discovered in northeast Iran

    Source: Tehran Times

    A huge natural gas field has been discovered in northeastern Iran, Central Oilfields Company Managing Director Mehdi Fakour has announced.

    "Details of the discovery of new natural gas reserves in the region will be announced by the National Iranian Oil Company," Fakour told the Mehr News Agency in an interview published on Friday.

    He went on to say that the exploratory study of the newly discovered gas field will continue until September 2013.

    According to BP's annual statistics, Iran's gas production (excluding flared and recycled gas) in 2011 was 153.3 billion cubic meters (some 420 million cubic meters per day), while the consumption volume was 151.8bcm in 2011, indicating a 1.5bcm negative balance.

    In December, Iran's deputy oil minister said that Iran's proven crude oil and natural gas reserves are worth around $37 trillion.

    The reserves include 100 billion barrels of crude oil, 94 billion barrels of condensates, and 207 billion barrels equivalent of natural gas, he explained.

    Iran's daily gas output is projected to hit 1.4 billion cubic meters by 2015.

    Iran ranks fourth worldwide with 155 billion barrels of recoverable oil reserves, after Venezuela, Saudi Arabia, and Canada.

    With 34 trillion cubic meters of natural gas reserves, Iran has the world's second-largest natural gas reserves after Russia.


    Former Minister of Petroleum Abdallah Ghorab talks to Daily News Egypt about the country’s energy problems. (DNE/ Mohamed Omar)

    What is the status of our energy resources?

    Egypt has yet to produce oil and gas. This is not my opinion as the former petroleum minister, but as a petroleum engineer who’s aware of this country’s copious resources.

    Let’s look at the map of Egypt, which areas have we seen production from thus far? From the Gulf of Suez, the Nile Delta, recently from the western desert and the shallow Mediterranean sea (up to 10km from shore). Egypt’s economic waters extend to over 300km, stretching out into the deepwater of the Mediterranean. Egypt’s potential resources of natural gas in this area are estimated, according to our studies that concur with those of the United States Geological Survey, to be 230 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.


    The delays to the JPP plan really have cost them.

    One more delay and it would be fair to say "It's all over"

  5. Is sanity to prevail?

    The entire future of Shell's drilling plans in the Arctic was put in doubt on Friday after two of Barack Obama's most trusted advisers called for a permanent halt to oil exploration.

    In a piece for Bloomberg news, Carol Browner, who was Obama's climate adviser during his first two years in office, and John Podesta, who headed his 2009 transition team, said they now believed there was no safe way to drill for oil in the Arctic.

    Their opinions come at a critical time for Shell, which has invested six years and nearly $5bn trying to gain access to the vast undersea reserves of oil and natural gas in the Arctic ocean.

    The Obama administration this month launched a high-level review of Shell's plans for the Arctic, after a series of equipment failures and safety and environmental lapses.

    The company is also struggling to repair or replace its Kulluk oil rig, which ran aground over the New Year, in order to return to the Arctic when the drilling season re-opens in July.

    Now two of Obama's advisers are suggesting Shell and other companies should not be operating in the Arctic at all.

    "Developers and Barack Obama's administration assured us these operations would be safe, thanks to strict oversight and new technology. Now it seems that optimism was misplaced," Browner and Podesta write in a piece for Bloomberg View.

    "Following a series of mishaps and errors, as well as overwhelming weather conditions, it has become clear that there is no safe and responsible way to drill for oil and gas in the Arctic ocean."

    Last week, the departing interior secretary, Ken Salazar, admitted he had never "felt comfortable" with Shell's preparations for drilling in the harsh environment of the Arctic.

    "It may be that Shell isn't even ready to move forward with drilling in 2013," Salazar said.

    Browner and Podesta went one further on Friday, arguing: "The Obama administration shouldn't issue any new permits to Shell this year and should suspend all action on other companies' applications to drill in this remote and unpredictable region."

    The two concluded: "It has become clear that the best Shell's money can buy just isn't good enough."

  6. If Barnett and Woodside were to get their evil way at JPP,Orica could well be a company to take advantage and open a factory there.

    We can just imagine the consequences.

    A mercury contamination expert has urged the NSW Government to crack down on the chemical company Orica, saying there are dangerous levels of mercury around its Port Botany site in Sydney.

    The plant is almost 60 years old and Orica says its testing for mercury always returns results below the levels set by the Environment Protection Authority (EPA).

    However, mercury expert Andrew Helps says there "is a very serious problem" with sediment that is contaminated with mercury in an estuary near the plant.

    Mr Helps, who runs a company that specialises in clearing sites of mercury contamination, says the tests run by Orica barely touch the surface of the problem.

    "They have not and never have addressed the issues of what mercury left the site, either gaseously or as a metallic form in the waterways," he said.

    "There's a very serious problem with mercury and incidentally chromium in the sediment in Port Botany - 184 parts per million down in the estuary below in the Orica plant.

    "What concerns me about Port Botany is very clearly the sediments are highly contaminated with mercury and there's a large population of people there who fish recreationally and eat them."

    People living nearby are say the tests run by Orica may not be comprehensive enough because they do not look at off-site contamination.

    Chantal Snell lives a kilometre away from the Orica plant and says she feels "quite scared" that she may be unwittingly exposing her children to chemicals.

    "I'm frightened as to whether I'm putting my children's health at risk," she said.

    The NSW Land and Environment Court began hearing a case against Orica in December over incidents at its Kooragang Island site in Newcastle and at its site at Port Botany.

    The most high-profile incident came in 2011 when a plume of the carcinogenic chemical hexavalent chromium was sent over the Newcastle suburb of Stockton.

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