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EPA Environmental Assessment Guideline for Environmental Offsets (Draft)

EPA Environmental Assessment Guideline for Environmental Offsets (Draft)

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Published by Kevin Mccormick
The draft Environmental Assessment Guideline for Environmental Offsets is now open for public consultation until 21 December 2012.
The draft Environmental Assessment Guideline for Environmental Offsets is now open for public consultation until 21 December 2012.

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Published by: Kevin Mccormick on Nov 19, 2012
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10/26/2013

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Environmental Assessment Guidelines
 
   E   A   G    X
DRAFT
 Environmental Assessment GuidelineorEnvironmental ofsets
October 2012
Environmental Protection AuthorityWestern Australia
 
DRAFT
 
Foreword
The Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) has developed this draft guideline tohelp proponents understand the need to consider environmental offsets for thepurpose of environmental impact assessment.The guideline provides advice to proponents on the principles of environmentaloffsets including guidance on determining the circumstances under which offsetsmay be required, and how to develop an appropriate offset package.The EPA is looking for proponents to:1. first, determine if there is a significant residual impact or risk;2. if so, propose an offset that is proportionate and relevant to the impacts; and3. ensure the proposed offset is consistent with this guideline.The EPA’s overarching objective is to counterbalance any significant residualenvironmental impacts and risks of a proposal through the application of offsets.While it is recognised that this may not always be achievable, the EPA expects theproponent to develop offset proposals which aim to achieve this outcome.The EPA prefers to maintain a flexible approach to determining offset requirements,so that the impacts of a particular proposal can be considered in the local context.This approach is consistent with the environmental impact assessment process.Where residual impacts are significant, the EPA will recommend offsetscommensurate with the scale and significance of the impacts. Conversely, the EPAwill not require offsets when residual impacts are not considered to be significant.This flexibility encourages proponents to avoid and mitigate impacts, and todemonstrate scientifically how impacts might not be significant.The EPA requires proponents to consider offsets in their environmental reviewdocument. For the PER level of assessment, this provides the opportunity for thepublic to comment on the adequacy of offsets through the consultation period.The EPA also recommends offsets as conditions on proposals, to ensuretransparency and accountability, and to provide the opportunity for offsets to beappealed. While the EPA maintains its flexible approach to determining offsets,having EPA reports publicly available will demonstrate that there is a consistentapproach to applying offsets across proposals.In September 2011, the Western Australian (WA) Government released the WAEnvironmental Offsets Policy. The policy recognises that environmental offsets are acomponent of the environmental assessment and decision-making process andshould be used to compensate for significant residual environmental impacts andrisks. The approach in this guideline is consistent with the principles outlined in theWA Environmental Offsets Policy.I am pleased to release this document for public comment.
Dr Paul Vogel
CHAIRMANENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AUTHORITY
 
DRAFT
 
Table of Contents
1 INTRODUCTION AND BACKGROUND ............................................... 42 DEFINITION, OBJECTIVE AND SCOPE ............................................. 43 POLICY AND LEGISLATIVE CONTEXT .............................................. 53.1 Western Australia ................................................................................. 5
 
3.2 Commonwealth .................................................................................... 5
 
4 OFFSET PRINCIPLES ......................................................................... 64.1 Offsets are only considered after mitigation of impacts ........................ 6
 
4.2 Offsets should be relevant and proportionate ....................................... 7
 
4.3 Environmental offsets are not appropriate for all proposals.................. 8
 
4.4 Offsets must deliver long term benefits for the environment................. 8
 
4.5 The context of the proposal must be considered .................................. 8
 
5 OFFSET DEVELOPMENT ................................................................... 95.1 Does the proposal need offsets? .......................................................... 9
 
5.2 When should offsets be considered? ................................................. 11
 
5.3 What is an appropriate offset? ............................................................ 11
 
5.4 What details should be included in the environmental reviewdocument?................................................................................................ 13
 
5.5 Who should be consulted regarding offsets?...................................... 14
 
6 OFFSET IMPLEMENTATION............................................................. 156.1 Undertaking the offset ........................................................................ 15
 
6.2 Timing of the offset ............................................................................. 15
 
6.3 Offset conditions ................................................................................. 15
 
6.4 Public availability of data .................................................................... 16
 
6.5 Transparency ..................................................................................... 16
 
7 DEFINITIONS ..................................................................................... 16

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