MEDIA RELEASE: Thousands call for rejection of controversial Exmouth Gulf industrial pipeline proposal amid heightened concerns during EPA assessment 

21 November 2019, Perth: The proposal from multinational engineering giant, Subsea 7, to build a major industrial pipeline fabrication facility in Exmouth Gulf, Ningaloo, is in the final phase of public comment through the WA Environmental Protection Authority (EPA, until 30 November). The Protect Ningaloo campaign has analysed Subsea 7’s documentation and identified a list of major impacts from the project which it believes should convince the EPA to reject the proposal outright. 

Protect Ningaloo will be making its own submission and has also lodged an online letter to the EPA summarising its main concerns which has attracted more than 3000 signatories a week. 9000 people so far have signed the letter calling for Subsea 7’s proposal to be rejected.

Protect Ningaloo Director, Paul Gamblin, said, “The more we uncover about this project, the more concerned we become. It is huge and would impact an area of seabed up to a 1000 football ovals in size. The effects of this project cannot be underestimated and it is entirely inappropriate for Exmouth Gulf and the Ningaloo area.” 

“Subsea 7 also wants to bulldoze a ten kilometre stretch of natural vegetation and wildlife habitat to build two pipeline railway tracks; about the distance from Perth to Cottesloe. These scars on the landscape would clearly be visible to tourists as they land at Ningaloo for their bucket-list holiday. How can that make sense for one of Australia’s most valuable tourism drawcards?”

Protect Ningaloo will be submitting a detailed review to the EPA, drawing on the best available science, outlining the detrimental effects this project would pose for the GulfAlong with damage or disturbance to the ocean floor and the loss of natural habitat on land, the launchway would smother a natural beach and destroy shallow water corals and sponges. 

Whales and dugongs would be at risk of boat strikes and displacement, and would suffer from unnecessary construction and towing noise. Increased turbidity and changes to water flows and coastal process would have wider ecosystem impacts. There would also be social impacts for the area, diminishing the recreational fishing experience, bird watching and photography.

“Our analysis also shows that the project is actually unnecessary, and Subsea 7’s plan for fabricating pipeline bundles and deploying them from Exmouth Gulf has not been justified in their documents to the EPA, and simply raises more questions and concerns.”

“There is no other place like Ningaloo and Exmouth Gulf. Its natural attractions and healthy ecosystem are why tourists flock there to experience unique ocean encounters like swimming with whales and mantas, and just to get away from it all. Why would we want to put this incredible natural asset at risk and open the door to industrialisation?” Mr Gamblin said.

Photos and videos of Exmouth Gulf wildlife and vistas are available on request.

Contact: Kate Smithers, Communications Advisor 

katesmithers@amcs.org.au