Legal action could have hurt LNG project: CEO

ORIGIN Energy's coal seam gas projects would have been harder to get off the ground had conservation groups used the same legal tactics they used against the Carmichael Coal mine, Origin's boss has admitted.

Indian mining company Adani's proposed Carmichael coal mine suffered a setback last month when the Federal Court set aside its approval because of potential impact on two endangered reptiles.

The court's decision prompted the Federal government to propose changing the law to minimise environmental court action.

Origin managing director Grant King said the scale of the APLNG project, which has wells and pipes across western Queensland and a processing plant on Curtis Island near Gladstone, had made environmental approval a challenge.

"I have no doubt it would have been more difficult (to get approved) because of the scale and complexity of the project," he said.

"APLNG covers thousands of square kilometres, with thousands of wells and hundreds and hundreds of kilometres of pipeline.

"Now in all of that scale what is the likelihood that there might have been a species of something that someone might have been able to object to?"

The Greens dubbed the proposed changes an "attack on democracy" and the Australian Conservation Society said court challenges were vital to ensuring projects were consistent with the law.

Mr King said the Federal Government's proposal to change the way projects could be challenged in court was a "legitimate conversation".

"I don't know what the solution is … but I do think it's a legitimate conversation," he said.

- APN NEWSDESK



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