By Melanie Debenham, Senior Associate, Perth
The Western Australian Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) commenced consultation last week on the greenhouse gas guidance for assessing proposals likely to have a significant impact on the environment under Part IV of the Environmental Protection Act 1986 (WA).
The guidance being consulted on is exactly the same as that initially released and withdrawn in March 2019, being the Environmental Factor Guideline (Air) – Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Technical Guidance – Mitigating Greenhouse Gas Emissions. To support the consultation, the EPA has also released a background paper.
The background paper outlines the basis for the EPA’s approach to the guidance and rationale for its strong policy position. Broadly speaking, the EPA’s drivers are twofold, being:
- upward trending greenhouse gas emissions in Western Australia, largely a result of new resource industry facilities (and with future growth predicted); and
- deficiencies in the national framework and an absence of ‘effective limitations on emissions through either taxation or capped trading’.
The consultation period is open until 2 September 2019. The relevant documents and further information on making a submission can be found here.
The approach to assessment of greenhouse gas emissions and climate impacts, and how those emissions should be regulated, will be central for major project development moving forward. This guidance will be an important part of the Western Australian approach (even though the question of conditions and offsets is ultimately a decision for the Minister for Environment). To the extent the guidance is viewed as setting a benchmark, it may also have implications for other Commonwealth and State based approval regimes.
For further information, please contact Melanie Debenham.