New EIA process in Western Australia requires detailed greenhouse gas mitigation planning

The Western Australian Environmental Protection Authority (WA EPA) has recently released a new guideline which is designed to shape the way EIA is completed for large scale projects in Western Australia.  The Greenhouse Gas Emissions Environmental Factor Guideline (GHG Factor Guideline) is only applicable to new development applications, where direct greenhouse emissions exceed 100,000 t CO2-e pa.  The GHG Factor Guideline will not apply to existing projects, unless they require modification.

The new GHG Factor Guideline replaces a guideline released by the WA EPA in March last year, which required large scale developments to offset direct net emissions.  The new GHG Factor Guideline does not require emission offsets, however, it does require the EIA process to include a detailed greenhouse gas mitigation plan.

The GHG Factor Guideline makes it clear that the WA EPA is expecting a rigorous greenhouse gas management plan, which is capable of delivering real mitigation outcomes and progress towards the WA State Emissions Policy.  The greenhouse gas management plan must include evidence based mitigation targets, a detailed evaluation of all realistic mitigation measures, and a commitment to reporting mitigation progress.

The WA EPA is expecting the management plan to quantify planned emissions mitigation over time, and demonstrate how all reasonable mitigation measures will be incorporated during project execution.  Greenhouse gas management plans are likely to require transparent analysis of technologies and management practices, and provide evidence that proposed mitigation measures are capable of mitigating emissions.

For further details on the new GHG Factor Guideline, or assistance with any greenhouse gas management plan, please contact Malcolm Sedgwick on msedgwick@umwelt.com.au.