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    WA Watchdog Scraps New Carbon Emissions Guidelines

Summary

The Western Australia Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) March 14 said it is withdrawing its new guidelines on greenhouse gas emissions. The...

by: Shardul Sharma

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WA Watchdog Scraps New Carbon Emissions Guidelines

The Western Australia Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) March 14 said it is withdrawing its new guidelines on greenhouse gas emissions.

The EPA said that over the past week it held a number of discussions with companies potentially impacted by its revised assessment guidelines on greenhouse gas emissions. “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,” it said.

“The EPA also appreciates that further discussion is merited to ensure that industry and stakeholders can anticipate how such guidelines can apply to proposals,” it added.

The EPA will be undertaking further consultation with industry and stakeholders to ensure these guidelines can be practically implemented and that they are fully complementary to commonwealth regulation.

The Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association (Appea) welcomed the decision to withdraw guidelines "imposing unprecedented constraints on investment in new projects". Appea CEO Malcolm Roberts said the requirement to offset all project emissions would have put at risk essential investment in resources and energy projects in Western Australia.

“We must achieve a policy framework that meets environmental objectives but also considers the social and economic impacts. Our industry has a big role to play in achieving that balance,” Roberts said.

Woodside called the decision the “right decision”.  Woodside CEO Peter Coleman said: “We welcome the EPA’s decision to withdraw its guideline and consult but regret the instability of the past week. The McGowan government deserves credit for acting quickly but Australia can’t afford to keep shooting itself in the foot.

“Governments need to act to give us confidence to invest. Climate change is an important and complex issue that requires stable, clear, national policies that allow business to invest in playing its part in emissions reduction. Targets and policies should be set by elected governments, not regulators – all the states should take note of this episode in Western Australia,” Coleman said.