Lawyers from EDO – on behalf of the Conservation Council of WA (CCWA) – have filed a second Supreme Court challenge relating to the Scarborough gas proposal as pressure continues to build around the controversial fossil fuel development.

The case will challenge a WA state government decision to approve works relating to an expansion of Woodside’s Pluto LNG facility – a key component of the Scarborough gas proposal.

It is the second judicial review to be launched around the project in the Supreme Court of WA, following an earlier challenge which will be heard in mid-December.

The Scarborough development has been widely criticised by campaigners as Australia’s most polluting fossil fuel proposal. Figures released by Woodside CEO Meg O’Neill last week confirmed the development would emit a total of 1.6 billion tonnes of CO2, which is the equivalent of 15 coal-fired power stations.

The case will assert that the existing works approval for expansion of the Pluto facility, issued by the CEO of the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation (DWER), was unlawful as it failed to properly consider and control the environmental harm generated by the development’s greenhouse gas emissions.

“It is well established that any additional CO2 emissions take us further beyond what is considered acceptable for a safe climate,” said managing lawyer Tim Macknay.

“Any additional CO2 emissions released into the atmosphere increases the risk of bushfires, droughts, heatwaves and other climate-related phenomena which put communities at risk.

“That is why governments and regulators – such as the CEO of the WA Department of Water and Environmental Regulation – should be doing everything in their power to properly assess and control any additional greenhouse gas emissions to mitigate the risks of climate related extreme weather events to the Australian people.

“The CEO of DWER has a clear power and obligation to assess and control risks of environmental harm from highly polluting industry during the approvals process. The Conservation Council will argue that this did not happen and therefore the approval which was granted by the CEO is invalid.”

The expansion of existing the LNG processing facilities on the Burrup Peninsula is a critical part of Woodside’s plans to unlock gas contained in the offshore Scarborough gas field and would more than double the total greenhouse gas emissions from the facility over its lifespan.

Woodside has come under intense pressure from conservation and environmental groups in recent months, with a national campaign – Say No to Scarborough Gas – set up to halt progress on the proposal. The group, which counts the likes of Greenpeace, Market Forces, 350 and the Australian Marine Conservation Society among its members, has stepped up its campaign since Woodside announced it had reached final investment decision on Scarborough in late November.

Maggie Wood, Executive Director of the Conservation Council of WA, said: “Less than a month after world leaders gathered in Glasgow to work towards driving down emissions across the globe, Woodside has signed off on Australia’s most damaging fossil fuel proposal.

“The decision to press ahead with this highly controversial development shows that Woodside and its partner BHP are deaf to the voices of millions of ordinary Australians who want to see an end to fossil fuels and to get Australia’s emissions under control.”

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