EPA Chairman Dr Wally Cox said that it is unlikely that the EPA's objectives would be compromised by the proposal, provided there is satisfactory implementation of the proponent's commitments and the recommended conditions.
The portion of the project that lays in Commonwealth Waters will be separately assessed and reported on by the Commonwealth Department of Environment and Heritage.
The Cliff Head project consists of an unmanned offshore platform, six production and two water injection wells located in Commonwealth Waters, an onshore processing facility, onshore and oil and water pipelines and oil transport to Kwinana and / or Geraldton. The proposal assessed by the EPA covers the portion of the project located on State Lands and within the limit of State Waters.
"The proponent has committed to rehabilitating the areas disturbed for the installation of oil and water pipelines from the shore line near Cliff Head to the onshore processing facility within a 50 metre wide easement within Beekeepers Nature Reserve," Dr Cox said.
"Pipelines will be installed under the primary dunes and beach by remote horizontal directional drilling minimising disturbance to these areas.
"The proponent proposes to provide $25 000 to the Department of Conservation and Land Management (CALM). This will assist CALM in managing the risk to reserve values along the rehabilitated onshore pipeline easement and reserve management in the area in general.
"In addition the EPA has recommended a rehabilitation bond of $50,000 to be linked to achievement of explicit performance requirements within an Onshore Pipeline Rehabilitation Plan.
"Also fire management during construction and maintenance of the onshore pipelines and the Processing Plant is of critical importance to protection of the surrounding areas of the Reserve and will be the subject of a detailed management plan."
A significant portion of the proposed alignment for the pipelines from the shore to the limit of State Waters is located in areas of seagrass meadow of varying density.
"Loss of seagrass in the most dense seagrass beds near the shoreline will be reduced by the proponent's commitment to employ horizontal directional drilling for installation of the pipelines from east of the beach frontal dune to 600 metres offshore," Dr Cox said.
"The EPA has recommended that seagrass be monitored for at least three years after the pipeline installation to ensure that the pipeline route stabilises. If it does not the proponent should be required to have contingency plans to stabilise the seabed and prevent further seagrass loss."
The EPA has also recommended an environmental condition to address the possible introduction and spread of exotic marine species during construction.
The EPA's report is subject to appeal until close of business Monday 8 November 2004 and available at www.epa.wa.gov.au.