The Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has concluded its assessment of a proposed increase in production at a shale pit in the Meander Valley municipality.
The proposal is for an increase in production of up to 15,000 cubic metres per annum of shale extraction and crushing at an existing quarry at Reiffers Road, Meander.
The EPA Director, Mr Wes Ford made the determination under delegation from the EPA Board. He concluded the proposed shale extraction and crushing activity could be developed and managed in an environmentally sustainable and acceptable manner, with certain conditions. The EPA requires these conditions to be included in any permit subsequently granted by the Meander Valley Council.
Mr Ford said that no representations were received in relation to the permit application, which was referred to the EPA Board in March, 2016. The period of public consultation was open for 14 days commencing 19 March 2016.
"Various environmental issues were considered in the assessment, particularly the risk of acid and metalliferous drainage (AMD) occurring as a result of the extraction of potentially acid forming rock," he said.
"Although this risk is considered to be low, the proponent is required to monitor waters draining from the quarry and to report any signs of AMD to the EPA.
"Potential impacts to the Mole Creek Karst system from excavation and blasting are also considered to be low based on the results of a geological investigation which found no evidence of karst on or near the quarry", said Mr Ford.
The proposal was considered by the Director in the context of the sustainable development objectives of the Resource Management and Planning System of Tasmania (RMPS), and in the context of the objectives of the Environmental Management and Pollution Control System (EMPCS) established by the Environmental Management and Pollution Control Act 1994.
The functions of the EPA are to administer and enforce the provisions of the Act, and in particular to use its best endeavours to protect the environment of Tasmania, and to further the RMPS and EMPCS objectives.
The Director undertook the assessment of the proposal under delegation from the Board in accordance with the Environmental Impact Assessment Principles defined in Section 74 of the EMPC Act.
The Director’s environmental assessment, including the environmental conditions that must be included in any permit, have been forwarded to Meander Valley Council, for review of planning issues prior to making a decision as to whether a permit is to be granted.
The decision by the EPA Director can be viewed on the EPA website at www.epa.tas.gov.au/assessment/completed-assessments