EPA backflip following oil and gas industry roundtable

Western Australia’s Environmental Protection Authority has withdrawn its controversial zero carbon emission guidelines and promised to restart consultation following a government-hosted industry roundtable.

The meeting in Perth was led by WA Premier Mark McGowan and included high-level representatives from oil and gas giants Shell, Santos, Chevron, Woodside and industry groups.

The authority’s proposed guidelines, issued on March 7, would have required any project with direct carbon emissions above 100,000 tonnes a year to offset it through environmental projects. Analysts had warned the policy could delay major LNG projects and a deliver a wider hit to the gas industry worth up to $US10 billion ($14.2 billion).

Shortly after the roundtable, Mr McGowan rang the environmental authority imploring it to revisit the guidelines.

In a statement issued later that afternoon, the EPA said it was clear there was some uncertainty within industry on the technical aspects and practical implementation of the guidelines, particularly with respect to offsets.
“The EPA will be undertaking further consultation with industry and stakeholders to ensure these guidelines can be practically implemented and that they are fully complementary to commonwealth regulation.”