Environmental Law



Meet the Co-chairs - TAGLAW

Schiller, Baerbel E.
Spencer Fane LLP

Authors: Johanna Kennerley, Senior Associate & Shaun Pryor, Solicitor

The NSW Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has recently introduced new guidelines in relation to recovering monetary benefits from environmental offenders.

Under the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997 (NSW) (POEO Act),  the EPA has the power to apply to the Court for a monetary benefit order to be imposed on environmental offenders requiring them to pay back any monetary benefits made as a consequence of non-compliance with environmental laws. Other states in Australia have a similar power,  however it appears that the power is not often used.

The new Guideline on recovering monetary benefits from environmental offenders provides guidance on when the EPA will seek a monetary benefit order and how the EPA will investigate and calculate such orders. The guideline has been introduced alongside a new Protocol for calculating monetary benefits and Non-compliance Economic Assessment Tool (NEAT) Model.

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Authors: Kelly Alcorn, Partner and Shaun Pryor, Solicitor

On 3 December 2018, the Queensland Government released a new version of the essential habitat mapping over South East Queensland in order to address the decline in koala populations.

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Mike Linder, Koley Jessen’s Environmental Practice leader, presented at an environmental conference in Washington D.C. on current trends in state and federal environmental regulations. The conference was held at the National Press Club and was sponsored by the Environmental Health, Safety, and Sustainability Management Roundtable (EHSS) on November 13 and 14, 2018. The presentation was titled “Emerging U.S. Environmental Regulatory Issues and the Federal-State Nexus” co-presented with Nick Steinke of Tellevate Consulting. EHSS is a coalition of senior environmental executives from Fortune 1000 firms who meet twice per year to exchange information with a goal of improving company programs.

Read more: Current Trends in State and Federal Environmental Regulations

Authors: Johanna Kennerley, Senior Associate & Timothy Bowles, Law Graduate

The Environment Protection Amendment Act 2018 (Vic) (EP Act), which has just been passed by the Victorian Parliament, will be the most significant change to Victorian environmental law since the adoption of the Environment Protection Act 1970 (Vic) nearly 50 years ago.

The EP Act increases regulatory compliance burdens for businesses, toughens the Environmental Protection Authority’s (EPA) ability to pursue offenders, and allows third parties to restrain breaches of the environmental protection regime.

The EP Act contemplates what is effectively an entirely new regime for environmental compliance. Businesses in Victoria must ensure that they are ready to comply with the new obligations.

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Author: Johanna Kennerley, Senior Associate

On 15 February 2018, Queensland Government released the much anticipated Mineral and Energy Resources (Financial Provisioning) Bill 2018 (Bill). The Bill is substantially the same as the previous Mineral and Energy Resources (Financial Provisioning) Bill 2017 (2017 Bill), which lapsed due to the 2017 election. 

The Bill proposes the introduction of two key changes to Queensland’s mine rehabilitation and financial assurance regime:
  1. A revised financial assurance regime that seeks to minimise the financial risk to the State if mineral and energy resource tenure holders do not comply with their environmental management and rehabilitation obligations. The new regime proposes the creation of a pooled fund for financial assurance contributions, and a more flexible way to provide sureties; and
  2. New mine planning obligations that focus on progressive rehabilitation throughout the entire life cycle of a mine.
Our previous newsletters (which can be found here) provide detailed summaries of the policies leading to this Bill.  
The Bill has been referred to the Economic and Governance Committee, which is due to return its report to the House by 20 April 2018.
To read more click here, or visit www.carternewell.com