Many landowners have negotiated easements with resource companies which authorise the construction, operation and maintenance of gas pipelines, particularly the major trunklines from the Surat Basin to the Gladstone LNG plant or trunklines from gas fields to compressor stations.
A key feature in most easement agreements is an obligation on resource companies to comply with the conditions of its Environmental Authority (EA). The EA sets out the government imposed environmental conditions that must be complied with when activities are being undertaken on your land by resource companies. For example, a typical EA will require that all land significantly disturbed by petroleum activities be rehabilitated to:
- a stable landform with a self-sustaining vegetation cover with same species and density of cover to that of the surrounding undisturbed areas,
- ensure that all land is reinstated to the pre-disturbed land use and suitability class; and
- ensure that the maintenance requirements for rehabilitated land is no greater than that required for the land prior to its disturbance by petroleum activities.
Rehabilitation must be monitored over time. There will usually be an EA requirement that maintenance of rehabilitated areas take place to ensure and demonstrate:
- stability of landforms;
- erosion control measures remain effective;
- stormwater runoff and seepage from rehabilitated areas does not negatively affect the environmental values of any waters;
- plants show healthy growth and recruitment is occurring; and
- declared pest plants are controlled on rehabilitated areas to a level consistent with the surrounding property.
More specific rehabilitation requirements exist for pipelines affecting creek crossings and waterways as well as for land designated as good quality agricultural land or environmentally sensitive areas.