AGL Employee

Hi @RobH1 

 

We are not expecting you to trust us and we recognise the community can’t simply take our word that environmental risks will be well managed.

 

The purpose of the EES process is to independently assess if these risks can be addressed before the project is approved by the Victorian Government and many other regulators.

 

In addition to the EES, AGL (and APA) will be subject to oversight by numerous regulators and government agencies, including: 

  • Environment Protection Authority Victoria
  • Australian Maritime Safety Authority
  • Transport Safety Victoria
  • Marine Safety Victoria
  • Office of Transport Safety (Cth)
  • Energy Safety Victoria
  • WorkSafe Victoria
  • Harbour Master
  • Victorian Regional Channels Authority
  • Port of Hastings Development Authority

The project must adhere to several legislative requirements, including:

  • Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act)
  • Environmental Effects Act 1978
  • Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988
  • Victorian Advisory Lists
  • Planning and Environment Act 1987
  • Mornington Peninsula Planning Scheme
  • Guidelines for the removal, destruction or lopping of native vegetation (DELWP 2017a)
  • Catchment and Land Protection Act 1994 (CaLP Act)

 

The claim you referred to is from the Marine Ecosystem Protected Matters Assessment, located on page 4. This was a preliminary investigation and undertaken by CEE Environmental Scientists and Engineers, not AGL. Jacobs Group was engaged by AGL to undertake planning and environmental assessments for the AGL Gas Import Jetty Project. Jacobs engaged CEE Environmental Scientists and Engineers to define the marine environmental characteristics and identify key potential risks to the marine environment from the development and operation of the Project.

 

The studies concluded;

“The general outcome of the reports indicates that the direct effects of the full-scale operation of the FSRU on the marine ecosystem in the Ramsar area relate to discharge of cold-water, discharge of residual chlorine and entrainment of larvae and plankton. As stated above, the extent of cold-water and chlorine toxicity effects are likely to be restricted to an area approximately 200 m north and south and 60 m east and west of the discharge point in water depth from approximately 12.5 m to 17 m. This represents an area of approximately 5 ha, which is less than 0.5 % of the seabed in North Arm. Entrainment of up to 10 percent of some plankton and larvae may extend to 750 m north and south from the FSRU, but overall entrainment in North Arm is expected to be less than 1% of the whole of the North Arm. The predominant habitats in the area that may be affected are: bare soft seabed habitats occupied by invertebrate communities (infauna and epibiota) and some mobile fish, and; planktonic communities in the constantly moving water column of the main North Arm channel.

 

The longer-term effects of entrainment on planktonic populations (including some planktonic larvae and eggs) are uncertain due to the possible intermittent and variable operation of the FSRU which depends on uncertain national and state energy supply options and state energy demands in the near future and over the next decades. The duration of operation will depend in multiple factors including security of energy supply and raw energy supply markets.”

 

The expert authors did not consider there is any impact on the Yaringa Marine Park. You are welcome to provide an alternative view but because they disagree with you doesn’t mean they are lying or trying to be misleading.

 

We rely on the advice of qualified marine experts and the claims are not devised to be misleading in anyway.

 

We want to use this forum as place for respectful and open discussions between AGL and those concerned about or interested in the project. We understand that there are many who may disagree with us. However, accusing us of lying is not in the spirit of our forum. We would like to reiterate that the information we have received is the opinion of third-party experts.

 

Potential environmental impacts will be subject to deeper investigation in the EES process. The scoping requirements are located here:  https://www.planning.vic.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0031/409936/Att-1_Crib-Point-EES-scoping-requ... 

 

As stipulated in the EES:  

“Minister’s decision to require an EES included the procedures and requirements applicable to its preparation, in accordance with section 8B(5) of the Environment Effects Act (Appendix A). These requirements included the following key matters for the EES to examine: 

  • effects from seawater intake to and cold water/residual chlorine discharges from the gas import jetty facility, including potential medium and long-term effects on the ecology of the North Arm of Western Port associated with changes to seawater quality and entrainment of larvae of marine species (threatened and non-threatened)” (p.3) 

Furthermore, in relation to chlorine and water temperature, the EES requires: 

  • identification of the marine or intertidal fauna and flora that could be affected directly or indirectly by the FSRU, including but not limited to entrainment through pumping system, susceptibility to changed water temperature or susceptibility to discharges containing chlorine or other pollutants. (p.14) 

The Minister for Planning will decide on the suitability of the project. As the EES process is the most rigorous avenue for obtaining government approvals, without the Minister for Planning’s assessment that the project would have an acceptable level of environmental effects, AGL would not be able to pursue the project. 

 

We encourage all community members to submit their concerns so they can be input to this assessment.

 

It is impossible to 100% guarantee no marine life will be harmed in any way, and we realise for many in the community, this is not good enough. To even consider this project, we must plan for any possible failures (the worst-case scenarios) assuming they could happen no matter how unlikely.

These will all be reviewed independently as part of the EES  process.

 

It also needs to be remembered that the proposed project is still in the feasibility stage. The AGL Board have also yet to decide to fund the proposed project. A final investment decision will not be made until the final EES assessment is complete.