Garrett pauses on LNG

THE Federal Environment Minister Peter Garrett has put the brakes on Gladstone’s coal seam and liquefied gas projects for three months so he can study their environmental impact.

Mr Garrett has sought an additional three months to complete his assessments of the Santos and BG liquefied natural gas (LNG) projects in Gladstone and offshore at Curtis Island.

A spokesperson for Mr Garrett told The Observer that these are the first coal seam gas LNG projects that have been assessed under national environment law.

“It’s important that the potentially significant environmental impacts of this project on nationally protected matters are properly assessed,” the spokesperson said. 

“This additional timeframe will provide that opportunity as well as a chance for further information to be provided, including in the areas identified as deficient in the Queensland Coordinator-General’s report.”

The extension will allow for comprehensive assessments under environment laws, and the follow-up of deficiencies identified in the Queensland Coordinator-General’s report, which included potential damage to the Great Barrier Reef.

“I consider the strategies for managing CSG water as critical, as there is the potential for ongoing risks to streams, soils and landscapes, through inappropriate use and disposal of CSG water,” the report said of BG’s Curtis Island project.

Queensland Greens candidate Larissa Waters said the minister’s assessment is limited to impact on threatened species.

“Without a trigger in our federal environment laws, the full impacts on groundwater and climate change cannot be assessed,” said Ms Waters.

Gladstone environmental campaigner Paul Tooker said Peter Garrett’s rejection of the Queensland government-approved Traveston Dam EIS showed how flawed and unreliable the Queensland EIS process is. “It will be interesting to see if the need of the government for revenue prevails over the need to protect our environment.

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