Community and environment groups are claiming victory as AGL has officially withdrawn its works approval for a floating gas terminal at Crib Point in Westernport Bay.
Victoria’s Environment Protection Authority (EPA) received notification of AGL’s withdrawal on 9 April, and the information is now publicly available on the EPA’s website.
“After four years of massive community opposition, we can finally say AGL’s floating gas terminal is dead in the water,” said Environment Victoria Climate and Energy Analyst Rai Miralles. “There is no way for the project to proceed from here.”
Save Westernport spokesperson Jane Carnegie said the community who live around Westernport Bay could finally celebrate. “With relentless community pressure and leaving no stone unturned, we have protected the wetlands against AGL’s inappropriate proposal.
“But this took four years and hundreds of millions of wasted dollars. The state and federal governments must improve permanent protections for Ramsar wetlands and Westernport Bay so this doesn’t happen again.
“The Kawasaki brown coal to hydrogen export facility proposed for Westernport Bay is yet another example of an inappropriate and polluting development. By improving permanent protections for the Bay, the state government could save itself another fight.”
Last month Victorian Planning Minister Richard Wynne rejected AGL’s gas terminal proposal because it would have ‘unacceptable environmental effects’ on a wetland of international significance.
The works approval with Victoria’s EPA was a parallel process, relating to the chlorinated wastewater the terminal would have discharged into the bay.
“The fact AGL has withdrawn this application shows they have conceded defeat,” said Environment Victoria Climate and Energy Analyst Rai Miralles.
“The federal environment Minister Sussan Ley still needs to rubber-stamp the Victorian government’s decision to reject this gas terminal on environmental grounds, but we fully expect them to reject it for the same reason.
“This leaves two floating gas terminals proposed for Geelong, and both of those are likely to be located in or near Ramsar-listed wetlands, triggering some of the same environmental concerns.
“The latest gas forecast from the Australian Energy Market Operator shows supply concerns have eased because another gas terminal has already been approved at Port Kembla in New South Wales.
“This means the Victorian government has time to focus on implementing policies that reduce gas consumption, so we don’t need to build terminals to import gas,” said Mr Miralles.
Greg Foyster, Environment Victoria Media and Content Manager, 0410879031