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Aussies Against Fracking
NSW Government accused of suppressing
judgement on AGL environmental breach in Camden Gas Project while receiving
public submissions on Stage 3
The Scenic Hills Association is calling on
the NSW Government to release its response to AGL’s latest breach of its
Environment Protection Licence (EPL 12003) on air emissions in the Camden Gas
Project before the close of public submissions for Stage 3 of the Project on
“The Environment Protection Authority’s
response to AGL’s four year failure to continuously monitor air emissions at its
Rosalind Park Gas Treatment Plant [RPGTP] was due in November but there have
been endless excuses as to why the EPA hasn’t released its findings or what
action it intends to take against AGL.
Its response is critical input to the
Planning Assessment Commission’s review of AGL’s Stage 3 Northern Expansion into
the Sydney Metropolitan Area,” said Jacqui Kirkby, spokesperson for the Scenic
“Meanwhile AGL is being allowed to continue
to operate its treatment plant in breach of its licence in a region where the
EPA admits there can be unacceptable levels of ozone and heavy particles
associated with respiratory disease. The treatment plant emits nitrogen oxides (NOx)
which can contribute to ozone levels of particular concern in summer.
“We think the government is irresponsibly
trying to avoid the fact that it can’t manage this industry, no matter how much
regulation it puts in place,” Ms Kirkby said.
“The breach is a total failure of the
system to monitor this industry in the only large scale producing coal seam gas
field in NSW that already operates under strict conditions of consent, unlike
other parts of NSW.”
Chronology: On the 15th August 2012 AGL
released a media statement confirming that it had been in breach of its EPL by
not conducting continuous air monitoring at the RPGTP, later admitting this was
The breach was picked up after the EPA
changed some of its reporting requirements for the Camden Gas Project to monthly
AGL was allowed to engage its own
consultants to investigate the breach and report to the EPA even though this
system of allowing AGL to self-monitor, self-investigate and self-report had
already failed to pick up the breach for 4 years.
A preliminary report was made to the Camden
Gas Project Community
Consultative Committee meeting of the 16th
o Both quarterly and continuous air
monitoring are required by AGL’s conditions of planning consent for the Camden
Gas Project, by the conditions of its Petroleum Production Lease and by its EPL.
Despite this it seems that when the
continuous air monitors failed AGL decided to rely solely on its quarterly
monitoring and reported the results as if the continuous monitoring was still
o The omission and breach were apparently
not picked up by any authority responsible for ensuring compliance: not the NSW
Department of Planning, Department of Resources & Energy or the EPA.
o It was also not picked up by the auditors
in the two year Independent Environment Audits of 2008 or 2010.
Scenic Hills Association media release 24th
January 2013/Page 2 of 2
“This is the third breach of AGL’s EPL relating to air quality that we know of
in as many years. The first two were only brought to the public’s attention by
the media. The regulatory responses to both were unacceptable” said Ms Kirkby.
Details of previous breaches: On the 31st
August 2011 Channel 7 News reported it had sourced documents showing that AGL
had pumped 30% more acid-rain causing sulphur oxides into the air at its RPGTP
than permitted by its licence for three years running.
AGL claimed that the original levels it had
agreed to were un-measurable.
The EPA’s response was to modify the
licence conditions so that AGL has since complied.
On the 17th May 2011, AGL was caught by
Channel 10 News venting the contents of a well clean-out (well maintenance
workover) to the air near the Upper Canal carrying Sydney’s back-up water supply
and towards houses in Glen Alpine near Campbelltown. There was a school nearby.
In the following investigation, AGL was
allowed to collect its own soil and water samples for analysis at an external
laboratory and to later engage its own consultant to report to the EPA.
The EPA later determined that AGL had not
followed procedure but as there was no significant environmental harm it was
given a warning.
The reason for grass ‘discolouration’ where
the contents had landed was never explained. AGL’s responses to the above are
The EPA has stated that AGL’s latest breach
in failing to conduct continuous air monitoring carries a variety of regulatory
responses from the EPA including court action or fines.
As at today the EPA has not yet decided
what action it will take.
“AGL continues to brazenly claim that the Camden Gas Project has been operating
safely for ten years to support its application to expand it into the Sydney
We are concerned that both AGL and the NSW
Government know that it does not have the data for air or groundwater to support
such a claim, being in breach of one or other of its licences, leases or
conditions of consent over this period in not collecting this in a scientific
“We believe this latest breach shows
conclusively that the Government cannot manage this industry no matter how much
regulation it puts in place. It’s time to come clean.”
Camden Gas Project environmental
Tuesday, September 10, 2013 AGL Press release
An independent environmental audit conducted between 1 July 2010 and 30 June
2012 for AGL Energy Limited's (AGL) Camden Gas Project in southwest Sydney has
found its environmental performance to be generally satisfactory and in
accordance with statutory requirements.
The Independent Environmental Audit 2010 - 2012,conductedby consultants Treo
Environment, identified some non-conformance with approval conditions, which AGL
The audit also found that five percent of non-conformance items were
administrative in nature and of the three percent that related to the
environment, none caused actual or potential environmental harm.
One example of non-conformance was not continuously monitoring air emissions,
which was identified by AGL in 2012 and reported to the community and
regulators. AGL commenced actions to rectify this non-conformance on 15 August
2012 including purchase, installation and operation of a new Continuous
Emissions Monitoring System for compressor unit one, and consultation with the
New South Wales EPA in relation to potential alternative monitoring methods for
compressor units two and three.
The report also concluded that environmental performance may be improved by
ensuring more monitoring requirements are completed in accordance with approved
programs and conditions of consent.
AGL's Upstream Gas Head of Community Relations, Julie Delvecchio, said that
while the audit confirms that the Camden Gas Project's environmental performance
is satisfactory, the non-conformances are disappointing for AGL.
We strive to deliver 100 percent compliance to fulfil our obligation to the
community, to our stakeholders and to the environment.
Our focus has been to quickly respond to the audit findings and we have
progressed or completed actions to address 100 percent of the audit report
recommendations, including new continuous air emissions monitoring equipment and
improvements to the Compliance Management System.
AGL is committed to sharing information with the Camden community and we will
provide a further update on these actions to the Community Consultative
Committee and to the wider community in three months," said Ms Delvecchio.
To learn more about AGL's Camden Gas Project, visit agl.com.au/camden.
 Treo Environment, Independent Environmental Audit 2010 - 2012, page 6.
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that this website is encouraging all political parties to contribute, especially
if their policies place the health, well-being and rights of citizens ahead of
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