WA’s top environment defender says he could be powerless to stop offshore gas processing from Woodside’s $40 billion Browse project, potentially undermining Premier Colin Barnett.
Mr Barnett, who has invested significant political capital in the James Price site, earlier this month vowed he had the power to stop any floating push. However, he was vague on how he could achieve this. Environmental Protection Authority chairman Paul Vogel has cast further doubts on the ability of WA to intervene.
He suggested it was unlikely the EPA would have a role in any environmental approval of an FLNG project, as it would be in Commonwealth waters. Although Federal Resources Minister Martin Ferguson supports the land-backed James Price site, some have speculated that Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke could reject a land-backed solution to appease environmentalists fiercely opposed to the plan.
Opposition Leader Mark McGowan has said he would allow the Browse partners to pipe the gas to existing facilities in Karratha.