(EnergyAsia, October 22 2012, Monday) — Australia’s gas pipeline association said the government should not implement regulation for its own sake as the nation already has in place the “most appropriate” environmental rules.

Speaking at the opening session of the recent annual convention of The Australian Pipeline Industry Association (APIA) in Brisbane, its President, Kevin Lester, said:

“We need to ensure we are not regulating for the sake of it. We need to ensure that environmental regulatory and compliance framework is fit for purpose, and not some dreamt up ideal that hinders pipeline planning, approvals and construction.

“We need to be pragmatic and not lose sight of what we are actually trying to achieve – constructing a pipeline and the construction works, as I like to remind everyone, is temporary.

“Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) documentation is becoming so bulky that, in some instances, the process is a risk of becoming a real problem to getting projects off the ground.

“For example, a recent EIS for a new mine had 1,400 conditions, one of which was the relocation of a colony of 100 red-back spiders. We certainly don’t want to allow such thinking to creep into our industry.”

APIA is reviewing its own widely followed Environmental Code of Practise later this year.

“There is a lot happening in the coal seam gas (CSG) space so it is particularly pleasing that Version 2 of the CSG Code of Practise will shortly be issued,” said Mr Lester.

He said the pipeline industry has been affected by the high Australian dollar and the lack of support from local consumers.

“None of the huge pipe orders as a result of the CSG work in Queensland went to the local suppliers, and there was certainly some pipe within those orders that was within the capabilities of our local industries,” he said.