AGL Crib Point gas project an unacceptable risk

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AGL’s proposed Crib Point Gas Import Jetty and Pipeline Project poses an unacceptable risk to the environment for unproven economic and resource gains.

Mornington Peninsula Shire Council last night voted to oppose the project in its submission to the State Government regarding the proposal’s Environmental Effects Statement (EES).

Council believes the EES falls short of demonstrating that potentially significant environmental impacts of the project can be acceptably managed. The EES also fails to make a strong case for the need to import gas over the medium to longer term, as Australia transitions towards renewable energy.

Mornington Peninsula Mayor Sam Hearn said: “This is a fundamentally deficient EES which prevents the Council and the community from undertaking a robust net community benefit assessment of the project”.

“It is a weak analysis and gives us no confidence that the environmental impacts of this project can be acceptably managed.”

“Mornington Peninsula has committed to zero emissions by 2040, with clear staged targets along the way. If the State Government supports this project, it will be displaying a lack of genuine commitment to be truly visionary and take real action in transforming our energy sector and protecting the future of our nation and the world.”

Cerberus ward Councillor Kate Roper said: “Our community is extremely concerned with many aspects of this proposal and we don’t see any benefit in the further industrialisation of Crib Point.”

“Western Port’s Ramsar wetlands are a crucial part of our ecosystem. Migratory birds travel here from as far away as Alaska, Siberia, China and Japan and we have an obligation to protect these wetlands under an international convention.”

“Western Port is also a key part of the UNESCO Western Port Biosphere Reserve. The AGL project contravenes the spirit and the intention of the Biosphere.”

“We have a marine and coastal environment here that is truly special. Western Port deserves better.”

Council’s key areas of concern relate to:

  • Greenhouse gas emissions and climate change, including unsatisfactory accounting of emissions from the project and a lack of offsets for those emissions that are identified
  • Marine ecology and biodiversity, including impacts on the world renowned Western Port Bay Ramsar wetlands and UNESCO biosphere
  • Terrestrial ecology, biodiversity and native vegetation, including loss of over 150,000 square metres of native vegetation, potential impacts on the endangered Southern Brown Bandicoot, Gaping Sun-orchid and terrestrial fauna
  • Groundwater, including potential impacts on aquifers and groundwater dependent ecosystems
  • Amenity, particularly noise impacts on nearby residents during construction and operation
  • Transport and traffic: the inadequacy of the Transport Impact Assessment for the purpose of competently assessing the traffic impacts of the project

Council’s analysis also found the EES did not include any objective or independent expert assessment of the economic benefits of the project. Absent such evidence, any claims that the project will have a net community benefit should be treated with great caution.

In addition, there is limited information in the EES regarding consideration of alternative sites (to Crib Point) for the project, including Corio on Port Phillip Bay and Port Kembla in New South Wales.

Council’s submission to the State Government regarding the EES can be viewed here: www.mornpen.vic.gov.au/AGLgasimportjetty

Mornington Peninsula Shire will hold a second online community information session about the Environmental Effects Statement tomorrow night. During this session, Shire officers will outline Council’s position on the project and provide more information to help residents make their own submission.

Community information session:

Wednesday 19 August 2020, 5–6pm

Go to this link and follow the instructions: bit.ly/2E45Fml

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