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Chevron climate pollution problems get worse – calls to prosecute company for unauthorised emissions

Western Australia’s peak conservation and climate organisation have called for WA’s biggest polluter to be prosecuted for unauthorized emissions from the Barrow Island LNG facility since the commencement of the project.

The Conservation Council of Western Australia (CCWA) was responding to the release of an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) report into Chevron’s failed pollution control system at the facility. The EPA was asked by the Minister for the Environment in April 2018 to clarify the intended start date for the controversial and problematic pollution control system. The EPA has rejected Chevron’s arguments for a late start date, ruling that the pollution control should have been operating since 2016.

CCWA Director Piers Verstegen said Chevron’s intentional delays to the pollution control equipment had resulted in millions of tons of additional carbon pollution and the company should now be prosecuted for these unauthorised emissions.

“Chevron is Western Australia’s largest polluter, and their emissions are the primary reason behind Australia’s recent overall pollution increases.

 “Today’s EPA report makes it clear that Chevron’s pollution control equipment has not been working since 2016. Chevron must now provide alternative offsets for up to 10 million tons of additional carbon pollution that have resulted during this period, as required in their Ministerial conditions.

Chevron’s lack of action costing WA Jobs
“The lack of action by Chevron to offset carbon pollution or even undertake basic compliance with their operating conditions is costing Western Australia jobs.

“Independent research shows that offsetting carbon pollution from Western Australia’s LNG industry would create 4,000 new jobs in industries like carbon farming, tree planting and renewable energy.

“By failing to comply with its conditions, Chevron is holding back WA’s clean state potential and preventing job opportunities from being realised across WA, while the company sends fat profits to its overseas shareholders.

Missed opportunity
“It is concerning and disappointing that the EPA has taken a narrow approach to this inquiry.

“The EPA report has clarified the intended start-date for the pollution control equipment which would reduce emissions by up to 40% if successful. However, this is only one of the many issues with the way pollution has been managed from the Barrow Island project.

“The EPA has not taken the opportunity to investigate the adequacy of conditions to control pollution overall, or other loopholes which make the conditions difficult to enforce.

Chevron’s pollution problems remain
“Even if pollution control equipment were successfully implemented, the Barrow Island facility would still be one of WA’s largest sources of carbon pollution, with around 6 million tons of carbon pumped into the atmosphere every year.”

“Requiring Chevron to offset this pollution is the first step to getting WA’s runaway emissions under control and has the potential to create more jobs than the current Barrow Island workforce.”

Fact File
  • Chevron is Western Australia’s largest polluter, producing around 22% of all carbon pollution in Western Australia.
  • Chevron’s two giant LNG facilities (Barrow Island and Wheatstone) in WA produce nearly 20 million tons of carbon pollution every year.
  • The Barrow Island Facility was approved with a condition to pump some carbon pollution underground, potentially reducing emissions from the facility by 40%. However, the ‘geosequestration’ facility has not been implemented by Chevron as intended.
  • The EPA has ruled that the start date for geosequestration should have been in 2016, rejecting Chevron’s arguments for a later start date.

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