Pluto development to proceed

03 November 2007 | 06:08 Code : 15794 Geoscience events
The Australian Government has given approval under the Environment Protection....

  The Australian Government has given approval under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 for Woodside’s Pluto gas development in Western Australia to proceed on strict environmental conditions.The Woodside development involves the construction of a Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) processing facility on the Burrup Peninsula, with the gas to be transported onshore via a pipeline from the Pluto gas field, around 190km northwest of Karratha in Western Australia.Minister for the Environment and Water Resources, Malcolm Turnbull said the decision to grant environmental approval for the Pluto project would ensure that industry development could proceed with environmental conditions to protect threatened and migratory species, ecological communities and the Commonwealth marine environment.The environmental conditions attached to the decision include requirements for management plans to mitigate any impacts on threatened species, notably the Olive Python, sea turtles and other marine mammals.Woodside will also be required to put in place management plans to protect the Commonwealth marine environment, including a dredging and spoil disposal management plan, an oil spill contingency plan as well as offshore drilling operations, construction, installation and operations management plans.Industry, Tourism and Resources Minister Ian Macfarlane said environment and heritage protection could be balanced with economic and industrial development. “One does not have to come at the expense of the other,” he said.The Woodside Pluto development will inject $17.6 billion into the national economy, including up to 3,000 direct jobs during construction and a further 200 direct jobs and 3,000 indirect jobs during operation.“The Pluto project will stimulate the local region with an estimated 28 percent of the workforce residing locally,” Mr Macfarlane said.

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