Critical Lack of Environmental Oversight on Barrow Island: Greens

Media release from the Greens today:

See previous Happy Squid post on Barrow Island: Chevron and DEC’s Gorgon animal airlift: A good news story?

CRITICAL LACK OF ENVIRONMENTAL OVERSIGHT ON BARROW ISLAND: GREENS

Greens MLC Robin Chapple says he is appalled at the current lack of Department of Environment and Conservation oversight at the Gorgon project on Barrow Island.

Information obtained from the Minister for the Environment indicates that despite the Gorgon Project having been approved by the State Government in September 2009, the agreed three DEC positions meant to monitor the project onsite have yet to be filled.

“This means that for the past six, nearly seven months DEC North West staff have had to plug the gap left by the Department’s failure to fill these positions,” Mr. Chapple said.

In her response to a Parliamentary Question from Mr. Chapple today, the Minister for the Environment indicated that DEC North West staff had had to spend a significant amount of time working on assessment, compliance and conservation matters relating to Gorgon.

“This is a completely unacceptable state of affairs for the already stretched DEC field officers in the North West and puts the lie to Minister Faragher’s assurances that this project is being responsibly monitored.”

“The Minister’s response to my Question on Notice indicates that the Gorgon Joint Venture partners must provide facilities, accommodation and transport for three DEC officers who are supposed to be onsite for the duration of the construction phase. This should not then be a budgetary problem for the Department.”

“However given that the Minister has allowed her Department to be denied any increase in an already insufficient budget this year, it may be that DEC will be unable to fill these positions for fiscal reasons.”

“This would be a breach of the Government’s own responsibilities to conserve the ecological integrity of this very fragile, very unique island committed to by Chevron and the Government.”

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