Thursday, June 7, 2012

Woodside halts drilling at claimed culturally significant site

Rania SpoonerSydney Morning Herald

Woodside Petroleum has agreed to stop drilling at the controversial site marked for a $35 billion gas hub, only moments before a Goolarabooloo man’s application to halt works was due to heard by a Perth Supreme Court today.

It is understood Woodside would continue other earth moving works at the James price point site in Western Australia's Kimberly region, but would not touch sections on the coastline and dunes, which applicant Thomas Hunter claims have cultural and environmental Importance.

Mr Hunter is represented by the Environmental Defender's Office principal solicitor Josie Walker who said an agreement to throw out the application had been reached half an hour before they appeared in court.Mr Hunter has taken the Shire of Broome and Woodside to court claiming an important report was not considered by the Kimberly Joint Development Assessment Panel prior to Woodside obtaining approvals to work at the site in Frebruary.

The EDO claim the approvals are invalid and are seeking a determination from the court, which could mean longer delays.

A lawyer appearing for the WA Minister for Planning suggested he may attempt to join the case.

A final investment decision on the hub is not expected until the middle of 2013.

The matter has been adjourned until June 15.

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