News

Sea Shepherd opposes Western Port Gas Jetty and Pipeline

Thursday, Nov 12, 2020

Westernport Bay in Victoria is a wetland sanctuary for marine life including Australian fur seals, Southeastern Southern right whales, humpback whales and weedy sea dragons. Yet, AGL Energy want to turn Westernport Bay into a massive gas import terminal that would threaten these precious animals and increase climate pollution from dirty fossil fuels. 

Sea Shepherd stands with and supports Phillip Island Conservation Society's (PICS) stance. They strongly oppose the proposed Crib Point gas import jetty and pipeline project on environmental, economic and social grounds. The project does not fit with the widely held community vision for biodiversity conservation and sustainable development in the Western Port region, including a rapid transition to a carbon-neutral economy.

Sea Shepherd sees the key threats to the oceans as illegal fishing, climate, threats to vulnerable and endangered species and plastic pollution. The proposed development at Westernport Bay will have an impact on Australia’s and the world’s climate with increased carbon emissions. We need to keep all remaining fossil fuels in the ground if we are to have any hope of a liveable climate. 

Any increase in shipping with these large gas tankers will result in a greater risk of ship strikes to genetically distinct Southeastern Southern right whales, which have tragically not recovered since whaling. Increased shipping will also increase noise pollution, impacting on whale stress levels, as seen with their Northern right whale counterparts that are on the brink of extinction with only a few hundred whales remaining. 

A Southern right whale in Westernport Bay. Photo: Lisa Schonberg

Sea Shepherd raises concern on the Environment Effects Statement (EES) with the following points:

- Lacks sufficient detail regarding the experience of AGL in FSRU operations and its health, safety and environmental track record.

- Fails to credibly demonstrate the need for the project or consider feasible alternatives as Australia transitions to renewable energy sources. 

- Lacks sufficient detail to enable adequate assessment of environmental effects over the project, including Corio.

- Lacks sufficient detail to enable adequate assessment of environmental effects over the project’s life, including waste, decommissioning, and rehabilitation requirements.

- Understates the magnitude of project impacts relative to those of existing human activities in Western Port and, therefore, underestimates the cumulative environmental effects.

- Fails to credibly demonstrate that the risks of potential environmental effects are sufficiently investigated and understood, and appropriately assessed and documented.

- Fails to demonstrate that these environmental effects can be acceptably managed. 

Sea Shepherd is also particularly concerned about project effects and EES deficiencies in the following areas: 

- Greenhouse gas emissions, including direct and indirect emissions, and failure to consider demand-side measures as an alternative to the project. 

- Impacts on marine ecology and biodiversity, including the internationally significant Western Port Ramsar ecosystem, listed threatened species, and listed migratory species. 

- Terrestrial impacts, particularly the extensive loss of native vegetation. 

- Amenity, social and economic impacts on the communities of Phillip Island and Western Port.

Sea Shepherd encourages anyone concerned with the points raised above to contact AGL.

For Phone and Mail: 

Sydney Office
Address: 200 George Street, Sydney, NSW, 2000
Phone: 131 245
Fax: +61 2 9921 2465

Mailing Address: Locked bag 14120, Melbourne VIC 8001

Melbourne Office
Address: 699 Bourke Street, Docklands, Victoria, 3008
Phone: +61 3 8633 6000

Social Accounts: 

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Over the years, Sea Shepherd has played key roles in working with First Australians, communities and organisations to deliver tangible outcomes in the fight for a liveable climate, from our work opposing the gas hub in the Kimberley, to knocking out all big oil in the Great Australian Bight. We have been campaigning for the protection of Westernport since 2015. 

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