Wollongong City Council wants the operators of the Port Kembla gas terminal to find ways to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, in line with the council's city-wide efforts to do the same.
But the operator has brushed off the call, saying it would be responsible for only a small fraction of Australia's emissions.
Approval was given last year for Australian Industrial Energy to develop the gas import terminal, but now AIE is seeking a modification to this approval, which could more than double the amount of ships passing through the operation.
It would also increase the greenhouse gas emissions from the facility by 19 per cent, AIE says in its environmental assessment documents, and this is where the city council thinks there could be a better outcome.
But a response to submissions from AIE's engineering consultant GHD showed it was not moved by the request.
"As discussed [in planning documents], the greenhouse gas inventory comprises a small proportion, being about 0.01 per cent, of Australia's national greenhouse gas emissions," its response states.
"The proponent has committed to a number of management measures to avoid, mitigate and manage potential greenhouse gas emissions including implementation of a Ship Energy Efficiency Management Plan and maintaining an International Energy Efficiency Certificate."
The main apparatus would be a floating storage and regasification unit (FSRU) usually powered by gas but sometimes by marine diesel.
This could boost nitrogen oxygen emissions and result in breaches of air quality standards, and AIE had requested a condition limiting emissions of nitrogen oxides be removed in time.
The city council requested this condition not be removed, to protect air quality. AIE, via the report by GHD, said there was no need.
"The assessment of potential air quality ... [found] there would be no incremental or cumulative exceedances of the relevant criteria at residential receivers," it states.
The Environment Protection Authority raised concerns about the the increase in shipping numbers, and the temperature of water discharges into the harbour.
AIE pointed out that NSW Ports had already requested the removal of all shipment limits for all port terminals, and said the terminal's "footprint" had not changed.
"The highly utilised and developed Inner Harbour is not known to support as many species as the Outer Harbour," its response said.
"Discharges from the FSRU therefore need to be considered in recognition of other land uses and existing water quality within the working harbour at Port Kembla."