The Woodside Petroleum Limited (ASX: WPL) share price has clawed back from earlier losses today to finish Wednesday’s trading session up 0.33%.
Shareholders of the S&P/ASX 200 Index (ASX: XJO) energy giant will have been closely following the company’s progress on commencing its $16.5 billion Western Australian Pluto LNG project.
The project, projected to provide 30 years of LNG exports once it’s finished in 2026, has received the green light from Western Australian regulators, but is facing a last minute legal challenge.
What’s the basis for the Pluto legal action?
As The Motley Fool reported on 19 November, Woodside says its development plans have been reviewed by the WA Environmental Protection Authority, the Australian Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment, and the National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority.
But an environmental group doesn’t believe regulators took into account the lifetime greenhouse gas emissions the project may release.
Woodside now has received official notice that the Conservation Council of Western Australia will challenge the works approval for the Pluto Train 2 project in the Supreme Court of Western Australia.
The Environmental Defenders Office, representing the Conservation Council of Western Australia, tweeted:
Our client will argue that a key approval for expansion of Woodside’s Pluto LNG facility – a major component of the Scarborough gas proposal – was unlawful, as it failed to properly consider and control the environmental harm generated by the development’s GHG emissions…
Governments and regulators should be doing everything in their power to properly assess and control any additional emissions to mitigate the risk of climate related extreme weather events to the Australian people.
In a release, Woodside reiterated that it has complied with the state’s “regulatory requirements and environmental processes in seeking and receiving its approvals“, adding that it “will vigorously defend its position”.
Woodside share price snapshot
The Woodside share price is down 5% in 2021. By comparison the ASX 200 is up 10% year-to-date.
Over the past month, Woodside shares have dropped 8%.