An onshore gas project in the Mid-West that will produce nearly 40 million tonnes of carbon pollution during its lifetime and only 15 ongoing jobs has been challenged by farmers, energy experts, medical experts and environmental groups who say the project is bad for the climate and jobs in WA.
21 appeals have been lodged against the project with the WA Appeals Convener.
The WA Environmental Protection Agency recommended approval of Waitsia stage 2 on the condition that its proponent, Mitsui, offset 0.18 million tonnes of carbon pollution per year, however, some 25 times that amount will be released into the atmosphere as a result of burning gas produced by the facility. Those ‘scope 3’ emissions are estimated at 4.6 million tonnes per year or 37.7 million tonnes of carbon dioxide over the lifetime of the project.
Conservation Council of WA Director Piers Verstegen said the EPA’s recommendation went directly against the growing international body of science and legal precedent.
“With millions of tonnes of pollution and only a handful of jobs, this project is the very last thing WA and our climate needs right now.
“The world is turning away from gas and coal precisely because of the pollution that results from burning these fossil fuels and courts and investors around the world are ruling against new coal mines and gas developments after considering the total pollution that will result.
“Despite this, it appears that Mitsui and the EPA have overlooked the vast majority of the pollution that would result from this project. A decade ago that approach might have been acceptable, but today it doesn’t pass the pub test.
“Any approval that is given for a fossil fuel project without considering the full extent of pollution that would result will be unlikely to provide certainty to investors because it will present a target for legal challenge.
“Gas producers must take responsibility for the harm caused by their product being used as intended, not simply for the emissions produced in extraction and processing.
“Claims that this project is needed to provide jobs in WA do not stack up either.”
Mitsui says Waitsia stage 2 will create 12 to 15 ongoing jobs, and ‘a minimum of 150’ temporary jobs in the development phase of the project.
“According to the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources, Waitsia stage 2 is worth more than $500 million. A half-billion-dollar project creating just a dozen ongoing jobs," said Mr Verstegen.
“If $500 million were invested in renewable energy it would deliver 2,500 jobs.
“$500 million investment in renewable energy is exactly what the Queensland government recently announced and what WA needs instead of more polluting gas projects that deliver few jobs and a major pollution bill for West Australians.”