Environmental groups launch appeal after Buru Energy dodges EPA assessment

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The Martuwarra Fitzroy River.
Camera IconThe Martuwarra Fitzroy River. Credit: Damian Kelly

Environmental advocacy groups have appealed an Environmental Protection Authority decision to not assess a seismic survey that would see large amounts of native vegetation cleared in the Kimberley’s Canning Basin.

The Lock The Gate alliance, in partnership with Environs Kimberley, launched an appeal of the EPAs decision on March 20 to not assess Buru Energy’s seismic surveying project which could see more than 438ha of native vegetation in the Kimberley cleared.

The seismic surveying is the initial phase of Buru Energy’s Rafael natural gas project in the Canning Basin, 80km south of Derby.

WA Lock the Gate coordinator Claire McKinnon labelled the proposed land clearing as “disastrous”.

“The EPA has just waved through 1147km of clearing for seismic survey lines, without examination,” she said.

“How many thousands of kilometres of healthy native vegetation can Buru clear before proper assessment of these harmful impacts?

In its decision the EPA found the likely environmental effects of the proposal were not significant enough to warrant a formal assessment.

“...the potential impacts of the proposal can be adequately managed through ... the proponent’s management and mitigation measures,” the EPA decision said.

In response to the appeal, a Buru Energy spokesperson said the company had a history of responsible development in the Kimberley.

“Buru has undertaken seismic surveys in the Canning Basin since 2008 with all surveys planned to avoid sensitive areas and threatened species,” the spokesperson said.

“At all times, Buru has conducted its activities in accordance with the stringent laws and regulations that govern exploration and production activities, and has always prioritised the protection of health and safety, the environment and cultural heritage in the areas where the company operates.”

An EPA spokesperson said the authority could not comment on matters under appeal.

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