By EDO NSW Policy and Law Reform Director Rachel Walmsley (First published by ABC Environment)
3 September 2014
The Federal Government’s handover of environmental approval powers to the States for development projects will wind back 30 years of legal protection for the environment and put at risk Australia’s World Heritage Areas such as the Great Barrier Reef, Kakadu and the Tasmanian forests.
Picture: World Heritage listed Upper Florentine forest, Tasmania, by Kip Nunn
By Outreach Solicitor Emily Ryan
15 August 2014
The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) is currently under scrutiny following a number of serious environmental incidents ranging from air and water pollution to the destruction of habitat for threatened species.
As the independent environmental watchdog in NSW, it is vital that the EPA is a strong and effective regulator. The role of the EPA should not only be to ensure that compliance with environmental laws is monitored and enforced and environmental harm remediated, but also to deter future environmental harm by ensuring that appropriate, timely action is taken, and adequate fines are imposed. However, recent events have called the EPA’s performance and effectiveness into question.
CSG operations in the Pilliga
By Senior Policy and Law Reform Solicitor Nari Sahukar
6 August 2014
Fewer new coal seam gas (CSG) wells will require a full environmental impact statement under amended NSW Government regulations.
The immediate effect of this amendment appears to reduce the environmental assessment and public consultation requirements for the Gloucester Gas Waukivory Pilot Project. This is despite community concerns that the hydraulic fracturing, or ‘fracking’, of CSG drilling wells up to 1,000 metres deep could have serious environmental consequences, including on fresh groundwater resources.
Countryside near Gloucester by Dean Sewell courtesy of Groundswell Gloucester
By EDO NSW Aboriginal Solicitor Mark Holden
9 July 2014
As one Aboriginal Elder puts it: ‘our culture is our identity’. But under the current system in NSW, the experience of Aboriginal clients of EDO NSW is that it is an uphill battle to protect their culture and heritage.
By EDO NSW Principal Solicitor Sue Higginson
17 June 2014
The threatened animal species hibernating in the Leard State forest received a reprieve from the clearing by Whitehaven Coal, thanks to the tenacity and vigilance of a local community group near Narrabri in north-western NSW.
By EDO NSW Executive Director Jeff Smith (First published in The Conversation)
14 May 2014
Part of Shoalwater Bay in Queensland, where the federal government blocked a major new coal port in 2008 over its “clearly unacceptable” environmental impacts. Daniel E. Smith/Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SARead more
By EDO NSW Principal Solicitor Sue Higginson (First published in the Newcastle Herald)
15 April 2014
The NSW Government, supported by the mining industry, is quietly shutting down the community’s right to run the type of legal challenge used by the residents of Bulga (Picture - Courtesy of John Krey).
By EDO NSW Solicitor Sarah Roebuck
1 April 2014
On 31 March 2014 the United Nation’s International Court of Justice (ICJ) delivered its long awaited and historic judgment in the case of Whaling in the Antarctic (Australia v Japan). Australia successfully sought a ruling that Japan’s scientific whaling program was not a lawful exception to the international moratorium on commercial whaling.
A humpback whale. Photo by NOAA via Wikimedia CommonsRead more
By Jemilah Hallinan, EDO NSW Outreach Director, and Millicent McCreath, Practical Legal Trainee
Over the past year, the status of two of Australia’s most iconic World Heritage Areas has come under attack from actions by the Federal Government.
Tarkine Wilderness, Tasmania, by Seeboundy via Wikimedia Commons
A Hunter Valley community group is seeking to protect the critically endangered Regent Honeyeater (pictured) by taking legal action against Cessnock Council’s approval of a steel fabrication facility on land which includes potential habitat for the rare bird. Update March 2016: The Court found in favour of our client. Read more