Protecting the environment

Environmental management and regulation

South-west spiny tailed gecko (Photo: courtesy of DMP Environment Division)
South-west spiny tailed gecko (Photo: courtesy of DMIRS)

The Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety (DMIRS) understands the importance of environmental management and regulation in the petroleum industry.

As the decision-making authority for all petroleum activities in Western Australia, DMIRS makes sure operations are conducted in a safe and environmentally responsible manner. Other Federal and State Government agencies may be consulted or referred to for assessment of petroleum activities.

All petroleum activities are required to have a DMIRS approved environment plan in place before the start of any activity. The plan must include a complete assessment of all the potential environmental impacts and risks and describe how these will be managed.

Petroleum companies are required to report to DMIRS before, during and on completion of an activity to show that they have met their environment plan commitments.

DMIRS undertakes environmental compliance audits on a regular basis to check the standard of environmental performance and identify any areas for improvement.

The Environment Plan

Petroleum companies must consult with all relevant stakeholders in developing their environment plans. The results from these discussions are included in the plan contents and information.

Some of the things included in the environment plan are:

The protection of water resources: Petroleum companies must describe how they will manage the use of water onsite. This is to make sure water use is sustainable and ground and surface waters are not impacted as a result of the proposed activity.

Emissions and discharges: Petroleum companies must plan for and minimise the amount of emissions and discharges associated with the proposed activity.

Flora and fauna, and management: Petroleum companies must undertake a survey of the flora and fauna in the location of the proposed activity before submitting an environment plan to DMIRS. The plan must provide specific measures to reduce impacts to flora and fauna and rehabilitation of the area following the completion of the activity.

Petroleum companies must demonstrate to DMIRS all possible environmental risks and impacts have been assessed and reduced to levels which are as low as reasonably practical.

A summary of DMIRS approved environment plans  includes:

  • the location and description of planned activities
  • a description of the environment
  • details of any chemicals or other substances that may be used down a well
  • major environmental risks, potential impacts and control measures
  • description of the management approach
  • details of the consultation undertaken and arrangement for ongoing consultation
  • contact details of the petroleum company
DMP environment officer assessing vegetation (Photo: courtesy of DMP Environment Division)
DMIRS environment officer assessing vegetation (Photo: courtesy of DMIRS)
DMP environment officer inspecting a petroleum facility (Photo: courtesy of DMP Environment Division)
DMIRS environment officer inspecting a petroleum facility (Photo: courtesy of DMIRS)

Key facts

  • The State Government environmental regulations help to ensure protection of the environment during petroleum industry activities
  • The Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety (DMIRS) has a strict process for assessing projects and ensuring compliance and rehabilitation.
  • A key priority of DMIRS is to make sure the community is aware of, and understands, the industry‚Äôs environmental impacts.

For more information check out other information sheets in this series by visiting Native Title and Land Access (NTALA) or Telephone (08) 9222 3333

Key steps in the environmental approval process for all petroleum activities