The House of Representatives has passed changes to national environmental protection legislation, giving State Governments greater authority over environmental approvals.
The changes to the Environmental Protection, Conservation and Biodiversity (EPBC) Act will allow State Governments to take over assessment processes under ‘water trigger’ legislation.
Until now, the water trigger required coal seam gas and large coal mining developments likely to significantly impact a water resource to undergo Federal Government assessment and approval, enabling the government to act in the national interest to protect Australia’s natural heritage.
Concerns have been raised over the ability of State Governments to act in the national interest, particularly given the number indebted to fossil fuel interests. Greens Senator Larissa Waters says she will oppose the amendments to the EPBC Act when it's tabled in the senate later this year.
Written by Peter Shannon
Written by Shine Lawyers. Last modified: June 25, 2014.