A bombshell directive from Western Australia's environmental watchdog that all new emissions-intensive projects should be carbon-neutral has put in jeopardy proposed new LNG projects worth over $45 billion and triggered warnings of threats to the broader resources industry that underpins the state's economy.
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The Australian Financial Review reports, Federal resources minister Matthew Canavan immediately called on the WA government to rule out following the guidance released by the Environmental Protection Authority yesterday and effective immediately, which captures any new or expansion project in WA that directly emits more than 100,000 tonnes a year of carbon dioxide and recommends that they fully offset those emissions.
Senator Canavan called the move "an act of economic self-harm" for WA that would do nothing to protect the environment and could potentially cost thousands of jobs.
The move comes just weeks after a landmark ruling against a coal mine in the NSW Land and Environment Court on the grounds it would hasten climate change and was prompted by the EPA's assessment that Australia will fall short of its Paris climate commitments under existing federal regulations, with WA being a major contributor.
The EPA's decision to set the bar much higher on emissions has ramifications across nearly all industries, including mining and processing, energy production using fossil fuels, infrastructure development, chemical manufacturing and any development that involves land clearing.
Woodside Petroleum's proposed $US11 billion Scarborough LNG project and its $US20.5 billion Browse project are in the immediate firing line, as is Chevron's $US34 billion Wheatstone LNG project despite it already being operational because the WA government has already asked for a fresh assessment.
"We are at a crucial time to finalise investments in projects like Scarborough and Browse and what we don't need is regulatory uncertainty," Minister Canavan said.
Conservative Party leader Cory Bernardi has told the Sky News show Outsiders, climate change is a dangerous cult.
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