PERTH (miningweekly.com) – The Western Australian Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) has withdrawn its revised guidelines on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, saying that consultation with companies had revealed uncertainty on the technical aspects and practical implementation of the guidelines.
The EPA last week revealed new guidelines on GHG emissions, which included rules that all new projects that emitted more than 100 000 t/y of carbon dioxide, should offset those emissions.
The new guidelines drew the ire of the resources sector, with Woodside earlier this week claiming that it was jeopardising billions worth of investment, and thousands of jobs.
Woodside had expressed concern over the lack of consultation prior to the launch of the guidelines, saying that the industry had been left in a state of confusion.
The state government also spoke out against the guidelines, saying that the guidelines would not be endorsed.
“It is clear from our consultation there is some uncertainty within industry on the technical aspects and the practical implementation of the guidelines, particularly with respect to offsets,” the EPA said in a statement on Thursday.
“The EPA also appreciates that further discussion is merited to ensure that industry and stakeholders can anticipate how such guidelines can apply to proposals.”
However, the EPA said that it did not resile from the need to reduce Western Australia’s GHG emissions, or from its “absolute right and obligation” to provide advice to the government on these matters.
“However, it is important that the detail of such advice is more fully developed and the practical applications are well understood,” the independent body said.
The EPA will now be undertaking further consultation with industry and stakeholders to ensure these guidelines can be practically implemented and that they are fully complementary to commonwealth regulations.
“The EPA is withdrawing the revised guidelines from application, until those consultations with industry and stakeholders are more fully complete. We look forward to further consultation with stakeholders, including the many groups that have voiced their support for the intent of the EPA’s guidance,” it said.
The Western Australian Chamber of Minerals and Energy (CME) has welcomed the withdrawal of the guidelines, saying that the decision to start consultations with the relevant stakeholders was "practical and achievable".
“There is a need to transition to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions but it can’t happen overnight. Industry is already adopting low emission technology and working towards the Paris Agreement in line with Australia’s commitments,” said CME CEO Paul Everingham.
“It is very clear from both the Premier and the EPA we all need to make our contribution to ensure the Paris Agreement is achieved. This consultation process will allow us and all other stakeholders to work together on how we collectively achieve this.”