Community groups are outraged over a recent decision from the Federal Government’s oil and gas regulator approving Woodside Energy’s plans for seismic blasting at the Burrup Peninsula.
Federal regulator NOPSEMA granted Woodside’s approvals late Friday last week, just two months after a Federal Court overturned its previous approval due to inadequate consultation with First Nations people.
Members of grassroots campaign group, Pilbara Climate Network rallied on Tuesday outside Woodside’s local office in protest over the decision.Today, over 30 environmental organisations including Save Our Song Lines joined an open letter calling on the Federal Government for action, including strengthening community rights in the NOPSEMA public consultation requirements. The letter shows concern on the “industry’s aggressive lobbying campaign” and regulations failing to protect ocean and marine life from fossil fuel projects.
According to a spokesperson from NOPSEMA:
Titleholders have a duty to identify who may be a relevant person and provide them opportunities to participate in consultation. However, even with best endeavours, titleholders may miss people or organisations who may be relevant. The proposal to conduct the seismic survey was also open to a public comment period. Consultation with relevant persons must be conducted carried out before a title holder submits an EP to NOPSEMA. NOPSEMA carefully considers information from consultation and any public comments as part of its assessment and decision making. In response to both Federal Court decisions (Tipakalippa in December 2022 and Cooper in 2023), NOPSEMA required Woodside to implement a broadened consultation program with relevant persons who may be affected, including with First Nations people and groups. The regulations do not require agreement about an activity proceeding from every ‘relevant person’ and NOPSEMA is now satisfied the consultation required to be undertaken in preparing an EP is now complete. NOPSEMA accepted Woodside’s 4D B1 marine seismic survey environment plan (EP) for the Scarborough project following a lengthy and rigorous assessment process. NOPSEMA is satisfied the EP met the acceptance criteria in the Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage (Environment) Regulations 2009 (the Environment Regulations NOPSEMA is also satisfied there are appropriate controls to manage environmental impacts and risks in accordance with the Regulations and Federal Court decisions.
The regulations require NOPSEMA to notify the titleholder. NOPSEMA also operates a database and alert subscription service that automatically sends at midnight WST, updates of any decisions made that day to relevant subscribers. A full copy of the accepted 4D B1 marine seismic survey EP was published on NOPSEMA’s website and details an extensive range of control measures to manage environmental impacts and risks, as well as ongoing consultation provisions.
Produced By: Emma Wotzke
Featured In Story: Raelene Cooper, Traditional Custodian and Mardudhunera woman, Save Our Song Lines – Lead Campaign Manager , Chris Jenkins, Pilbara Climate Network spokesperson , and
First aired on The Wire, Thursday 7 December 2023