Barnett defends Browse approval process
Protesters block the road to James Price Point. Picture: Mike Gray.

Premier Colin Barnett has defended the process behind the Environmental Protection Authority's decision to recommend Woodside Petroleum's proposed $30 billion Kimberley gas hub.

Mr Barnett, talking to ABC radio in Perth today, agreed it was "coincidental" that Environment Minister Bill Marmion had changed the law last year to allow just one member of the EPA to make decisions - which later happened in the Woodside case.

However, Mr Barnett said there was nothing wrong with the decision.

"Is the recommendation of the EPA flawed? In my opinion, no," Mr Barnett said, adding it was subject to appeal.

"The whole process has been an exhaustive process of environmental assessment over a long period of time."

The WA Government is reviewing the EPA decision after a record more than 250 objections were raised to it.

Former CSIRO chief executive Roy Green has been appointed to oversee the process.

The controversial decision to recommend the LNG gas hub was left to just one man, EPA chairman Paul Vogel, after his four fellow board members abstained due to conflicts of interest.

Mr Vogel's final recommendation contained 29 strict conditions for the development of the James Price Point site, about 60km north of Broome, including environmental, cultural and heritage measures.

While the EPA report is not final, the WA Government will use it to make a final decision on the project.

The Federal Environment Department has yet to rule on it, and Woodside has not yet made a final investment decision.

If the gas hub does go ahead, it has the potential to be the biggest LNG processing plant in the world.

Woodside has already started preliminary works for the project, which has divided the normally laid-back tourist town of Broome.

Mr Marmion said he would rule on the project once Dr Green had finished his review of the EPA appeals process.

The West Australian

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