QGC fined for clearing vegetation

CURTIS Island LNG proponents QGC have been penalised for clearing vegetation without federal government approval.

The federal environment department issued QGC (Queensland Gas Company) with three penalty infringement notices totalling $19,800 for clearing up to six kilometres of vegetation, to lay a gas pipeline, without the department's approval.

Up to six kilometres of vegetation was cleared prior to having environmental management plans approved for a pipeline network linking coal seam gas fields in the Surat Basin west of Dalby with a proposed liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant on Curtis Island.

"QGC's failure to have these plans approved by the federal government and in place prior to commencement of the clearing of vegetation contravened conditions attached to the approval granted in October 2010," said departmental spokesperson, Ms Rose Webb.

"Matters of national environmental significance are unlikely to have been significantly impacted by the vegetation clearance in this case," Ms Webb said.

The pipeline project was approved with 67 strict conditions to minimise the environmental impact of the building and operation of the pipeline network.

"In issuing notices imposing penalties totalling $19 800, the department considered the technical nature of the breach and level of co-operation given by the company during the investigation," Ms Webb said.

"The notices given to QGC send a strong signal to companies that the department takes compliance with national environment law very seriously with penalties and breaches enforced," Ms Webb said

In response QGC said they advised the Federal Government of the breaches.

"It thanks the Department for acknowledging QGC's cooperative attitude to dealing with the situation," a QGC spokesperson said.

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