The much awaited guideline to the ‘Chain of Responsibility’ amendments to the Environmental Protection Act 1994 (Qld) (EP Act) was released on 27 January 2017. While the guideline provides some comfort to industry participants regarding their exposure to liability under the new environmental regime, there is still some speculation as to how the concepts in the guideline will be implemented by the regulator.

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By: James Plumb, Partner and Duncan Lomas, Solicitor 

In December 2015, the Queensland Supreme Court dismissed an application for judicial review by Queensland Cooper Shale Pty Ltd and other related entities, in respect of the rejection by the Minister of Natural Resources and Mines (respondent) of a number of mineral exploration permit applications.

We considered the Supreme Court’s decision in our January 2016 article ‘Is it oil shale or an unconventional petroleum resource?’.

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By: Johanna Kennerley, Senior Associate

The Victorian Government has released its response to the Independent Inquiry into the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and environmental regulation in Victoria. The response overwhelmingly demonstrates the government’s intention to modernise and strengthen environmental regulation in Victoria.

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By: Channing J. Martin

President Trump has wasted no time in acting on his environmental agenda.  On January 24, his second working day in office, the President signed two Executive Orders giving the green light to construction of the Keystone and Dakota Access pipelines.  When he signed the orders, he said the pipelines “will create great construction jobs,” and that the contracts with the pipeline companies are “subject to re-negotiation of terms by us” as to the use of American steel and American workers.  Both of these projects have been the subject of a significant litigation and were opposed and delayed by the Obama Administration, tribes and numerous environmental groups.  President Trump also signed an Executive Order requiring federal agencies to streamline the environmental permitting process for American manufacturers and reduce regulatory burdens within the confines of the law.  Finally, he signed an Executive Order requiring federal agencies to expedite environmental reviews of infrastructure projects.

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By: Channing A. Martin

There’s a new sheriff in town.  Donald Trump’s election as President is likely to lead to significant changes in environmental regulation for American businesses.  Some changes can (and will) take place very quickly, with the stroke of a pen.  These include revoking Executive Orders, such as President Obama’s Climate Action Plan, as well as agency directives and guidance documents.  Other changes will require rulemaking under the Administrative Procedures Act (APA) or legislation by Congress. 

As a general matter, it’s safe to assume the Trump Administration will streamline regulations for American manufacturing, promote infrastructure projects, and remove impediments to the development of pipelines, coal mining, and other fossil fuels projects.  That could mean, for example, giving the green light to the Keystone Pipeline and the Dakota Access Pipeline, as well as opening up more public lands to energy exploration.

How quickly can President Trump roll back what he calls “job killing” regulations?  The answer is:  It depends.

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