New EAGs and the Assessment Bilateral Agreement
Last night the Office of the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) presented their new guidance material related to the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) process to the Environmental Consultant's Association.
The new or revised Environmental Assessment Guidelines (EAGs) include:
New guidance for proponents on preparing an environmental review for an API level of assessment (EAG 14).
Revised EAG 8 Factors and Objectives.
Revised EAG 9 Significance framework in EIA.
Proposed new guidance on environmental management plans (EMPs).
The new guidelines were published in January this year to coincide with the new Assessment Bilateral Agreement between the state of Western Australia and the Commonwealth.
The Agreement under the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) was signed on 3rd October 2014 and commenced on 1st January 2015, with existing assessments transitioning to the new agreement on this date. Previously the Agreement only accredited the EPA’s Public Environmental Review (PER) assessment.
The new agreement now accredits EPA assessment of:
Assessment on Proponent Information - Category A (API-A) level of assessment.
Public Environmental Review (PER) level of assessment.
Department of Environment Regulation’s clearing permit process (Part V Division 2).
Clearing applications assessed by DMP under delegation can be assessed under the bilateral agreement.
The Commonwealth will still make their controlled action decision, however, WA can assess proposals on behalf of the Commonwealth through this accredited processes. The Commonwealth will still make the approval decision under the EPBC Act, relying on the WA assessment report.