Conservation Council of Western Australia v. Hatton and Woodside
Jurisdiction: Supreme Court of Western Australia
Side A: Conservation Council of Western Australia (Ngo)
Side B: Woodside Petroleum (Corporation)
Side B: Hatton (Government)
Core objectives: Whether the state EPA's allowing expanded natural gas sourcing violated the state Environmental Protection Act due to environmental and climate impacts
SummaryOn December 21, 2020, the Conservation Council of Western Australia (CCWA) filed suit against the former chairman of the Western Australia EPA and the natural gas company Woodside, alleging that the EPA had allowed Woodside to process unlimited amounts of gas at two plants, in violation of the state's Environmental Protection Act. According to news reports, CCWA alleges that the state EPA had previously only allowed the plants to process gas from particular sources. Then, in July 2019, EPA made two decisions allowing the plants to process gas from any source, made under provisions of the Environmental Protection Act that allows minor changes to previous approvals without significant assessment. CCWA alleges that the environmental and climate impacts were major and should have triggered the full consideration of the EPA. According to news reports, Woodside is partnering with Shell, BP, Chevron, and BHP to extract, transport, and process the gas as part of the Burrup Hub project.
At a three day hearing commencing on December 20, 2021, CCWA told the court that the former chairman of the Western Australia EPA (Hatton) had to “engage in his own intellectual process” when approving recommendations by the EPA to allow the plants to process gas from any source. The Court rejected this argument, saying that CCWA had not established the chair did not consider the possible environmental and climate impacts and had not proved the chair made an error.