Proposed Exmouth Gulf Development to Undergo Public Environmental Review
A fortnight ago we brought you news that Subsea7, in agreement with the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) resubmitted a revised application to build a pipeline construction and launching facility south of Exmouth. We believed this proposal should be assessed through a Public Environmental Review (PER) which would provide the community with the opportunity to have their say on the proposal.
We wanted to keep you updated on this issue as Exmouth Gulf is a unique and extremely important fishing location for West Australians.
We are pleased to inform you that on Tuesday the EPA announced its decision to undertake a Public Environmental Review of Subsea 7’s application. This level of assessment ensures the highest level of scrutiny and transparency during the assessment period.
The EPA received 2498 public comments, of which 2359 called for a full public environmental review. We know a great many of these submissions came from passionate recreational fishers. It’s great to see such a high level of engagement over a proposal in such an important fishing area.
Recfishwest holds concerns over any activities that are not compatible with the amazing wilderness fishing opportunities that the Gulf provides. Our concerns at this stage focus on ongoing public access to the coast, environmental changes that impact fish populations, pipeline launching operations that impacts on fishing activities and a general increase in industrial activities within Exmouth Gulf.
We appreciate those that took the time to write in during the consultation period. We will continue to keep you updated on the progress of this proposal, including further opportunities to comment.
For further info about the proposal, visit the EPA website here: http://www.epa.wa.gov.au/proposals/learmonth-bundle-site
29th May 2019
Subsea7’s Revised Exmouth Gulf Proposal
Subsea7 in agreement with the Environmental Protection Authority recently withdrew an application to build a pipeline construction and launching facility south of Exmouth. This happened after it was decided amendments to the original plan constituted a significant change. One of these significant changes was an increase in planned seabed disturbance within the Exmouth Gulf from 1ha to 1,465ha.
Last week week Subsea7 re-submitted a revised proposal to the EPA that allows for the expanded footprint and increased seabed disturbance. The EPA is currently seeking comment on whether or not they should assess this proposal and, if so, what level of assessment is considered appropriate.
The three most common levels of assessment undertaken by the EPA for any application are:
- Referral Information (RI) – where a proposal is assessed without the need to prepare an (additional) environmental review document.
- Environmental Review (ER)– no public review – where an environmental review document is prepared but there is no public comment period.
- Public Environmental Review (PER) – where an environmental review document is prepared and is available for public comment.
The EPA had previously decided to assess this proposal at the level of a PER. Given the new proposal contains an increase in planned seabed disturbance, Recfishwest can see no reason why the proposal should not once again be assessed at a PER level.
We will be urging the EPA to assess this project through the highest level of review (PER process) to ensure recreational fishers have plenty of opportunity to provide input.
Recfishwest have met with Subsea 7 on multiple occasions regarding this project and we will continue to talk to Subsea 7 and relevant stakeholders to get a better understanding of the proposed development’s impacts.