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Media Release: Tasmanian EPA considers proposal for a quarry on Cleveland at Ouse

21/03/2017

The Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has concluded its assessment of a proposed quarry on the Cleveland property, near Ouse in the Central Highlands municipality.  

The quarry proposal by Cleveland Pastoral Estate Pty Ltd involves the production of up to 10,000 cubic metres of gravel per year near Chapmans Hill on the Cleveland property, 9 km north-west of Ouse.  

The EPA Director, Mr Wes Ford, made the determination under delegation from the EPA Board, concluding the proposed quarry could be developed and managed in an environmentally sustainable and acceptable manner, with certain conditions. The EPA requires these conditions to be included in any permit subsequently granted by the Central Highlands Council.  

“Various environmental issues were considered in the assessment, and standard conditions relating to sediment control, weed management and dust were included,” said Mr Ford.  

No representations were received in relation to the permit application, which was referred to the Board in December 2016. Public consultation was open for a 14 day period commencing 21 January 2017.  

The proposal was considered by the Director in the context of the sustainable development objectives of the Resource Management and Planning System of Tasmania (RMPS), and in the context of the objectives of the Environmental Management and Pollution Control System (EMPCS) established by the Environmental Management and Pollution Control Act 1994 (EMPCA).  

The functions of the EPA are to administer and enforce the provisions of EMPCA, and in particular to use its best endeavours to protect the environment of Tasmania, and to further the RMPS and EMPCS objectives.  

The Director undertook the assessment of the proposal in accordance with the Environmental Impact Assessment Principles defined in Section 74 of EMPCA.

The Director’s environmental assessment, including the environmental conditions that must be included in any permit, have been forwarded to Central Highlands Council, for review of planning issues prior to making a decision as to whether a permit is to be granted.  

The decision by the EPA Director can be viewed on the EPA website at http://epa.tas.gov.au/assessment/completed-assessments   

For more information please contact:  
EPA Communications Coordinator
(P) 03 61 65 4420 (M) 0408 478897
www.epa.tas.gov.au

PODCAST: U.S. Environmental Enforcement in Transition

16/03/2017

Professor Glicksman recently visited the SA EPA and presented on U.S. Environmental Enforcement in Transition and you can listen to the podcast here. Available to AELERT members only.

LISTEN TO PODCAST

President Abraham Lincoln once said that "Laws without enforcement are only good advice."  That truism certainly applies to environmental law.  Scholars and policymakers for years have debated the best ways to improve environmental compliance, including, but not limited to maximising the impact of government enforcement.   

The transition from President Obama to President Trump raises that question anew.  Under the Obama Administration, the federal Environmental Protection Agency embarked on a program called "Next Generation Compliance," which sought to supplement traditional enforcement with the use of innovative technologies to bolster compliance in the face of declining enforcement resources. 

The impact of this Next Gen effort is unclear, as well as its fate under the Trump Administration.  In addition, the Trump Administration is expected to scale back federal participation in all aspects of environmental law.  That approach will make both state and private enforcement more important than ever.   

This presentation reviews these aspects of the voluble landscape of environmental enforcement in the U.S.  

Further information about Professor Glicksman is available at https://www.law.gwu.edu/robert-l-glicksman

Builder hit with $8K fine for polluting Coogee Beach

08/03/2017

A builder working in Coogee who pumped untreated sediment-laden water directly into the stormwater system has been hit with an $8,520 fine by Randwick City Council.

On Monday 20 February 2017, beach-goers at Coogee Beach noticed white sediment-laden water flowing from the stormwater pipe at the northern end of the beach.

Council’s Environmental Health Officers attended the beach and were able to trace the source of the pollution back to a building site on Mount Street where a builder was pumping site water into the stormwater system via a rear lane.

The builder was immediately instructed to cease and later issued with Prevention Notice and fine for committing an offence under Section 120 of the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997.

Randwick Mayor Noel D’Souza said the fine should send a strong message.

“This type of behaviour is irresponsible and environmental vandalism. The stormwater system flows directly to our beaches – there’s no magic filter.

“I’d like to thank the local residents who reported this to Council and worked with us to find and stop the source of pollution,” Mayor D’Souza said.

Source: Randwick City Council

Coogee pollution incident 3 webCoogee pollution incident 2 web

Australia State of the Environment Report 2016

07/03/2017

An independent review of the state of Australia’s environment has found the impacts of climate change are increasing.

However, it also shows that over the past 5 years (2011–16), environmental policies and management practices in Australia have achieved improvements in the state and trends of parts of the Australian environment. Australia’s built environment, natural and cultural heritage, and marine and Antarctic environments are generally in good condition. 

For some parts of the Australian environment effective policy and management have contributed to improved outcomes for the environment and for people.

Australia State of the Environment 2016, the fith national assessment on the state of the environment, has been prepared by independent experts using the best available information to support assessments of environmental condition, pressures, management effectiveness, resilience, risks and outlook.

View the reports here.

 

40 tonnes of unregistered chemical product detained

02/03/2017

Source: APVMA

Two 20,000 kilogram containers of glyphosate and trifluralin were detected and detained in Melbourne late last year for failing to meet their Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) registered particulars, which meant they were unregistered under Agvet law.

Extensive discussions with the importer and overseas manufacturing companies—conducted over a four week period—confirmed the APVMA’s concerns.

The chemical products were returned to the source country in mid-December 2016 at the Australian importer’s expense.

All holders of agricultural chemical product registrations need to be reminded to make sure the chemicals that they are importing and supplying comply with their APVMA registered particulars and conditions of registration. Registered chemical products must be manufactured in accordance with the formulation details that the APVMA has on record. Chemical products must be manufactured at the site of manufacture that is detailed on the APVMA Register for the product.

If a overseas manufacturing site has closed down, it is time to review and update the APVMA records.

 

Fighting back – Cameroon sets fire to 3000kg of pangolin scales

27/02/2017

On the eve of World Pangolin Day, Cameroon’s two major cities, Yaoundé and Douala, were set ablaze by the country’s Minister of Forestry and Wildlife, Philip Ngolle Ngwese.

Known for their tough stance on illegal wildlife traffickers and following last year’s burning of its ivory stockpile, on 17 February the Cameroon government burnt 3094kg of seized pangolin scales.

Pangolins, often called “scaly anteaters,” are covered in tough, overlapping scales. These burrowing mammals eat ants and termites using an extraordinarily long, sticky tongue and are able to quickly roll themselves up into a tight ball when threatened. There are eight different pangolin species found across Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. Poaching for illegal wildlife trade and habitat loss have made these incredible creatures one of the most endangered groups of mammals in the world.

They are traditionally used in Chinese medicine to disperse blood stasis, reduce swelling, cure abscesses and reduce pain due to rheumatism and arthritis.

In the ongoing fight against the poaching of pangolin, the world’s only mammal with scales, the Cameroon haul was seized from traffickers in airport stings, on their way to China.

Since 2013, there has been an upsurge in trafficking of pangolin scales, with several tons being seized each year.  According to the Cameroon wildlife minister, 8134kg of pangolin scales were detected between 2013 and 2016. Of this number 5040kg are under seal as suspect traffickers are facing trial in a court in Douala, Cameroon’s economic capital. The rest, 3094kg, have been burnt.

Until the last Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) COP17 meeting in Johannesburg, South Africa, last year, only the giant pangolin was completely protected.  In the face of exponential increase in scales trafficking, CITES has declared all pangolin species protected.

“The burning of these scales reaffirms the determination of the government of Cameroon to fight against wildlife trafficking in general and pangolin scales in particular.” Minister Ngwese said.

Cameroon, alongside other pangolin range countries, is battling to stem this new wave of scales trafficking with the support of WWF. 

According to Dr. Hanson Njiforti, WWF Cameroon Country Director, the government of Cameroon has taken a bold and proactive step to save what is left of pangolins in the forest.

“The bigger challenge now is to stop the traffickers from killing the pangolins because 8000 kg of scales means several thousands of pangolins have been killed.” Dr. Njiforti said.  

QAL pleaded guilty and fined $400,000 for releasing contaminated steam

23/02/2017

Queensland Alumina Limited (QAL) has been convicted for causing serious environmental harm to the central Gladstone community from releasing 7.1 tonnes of contaminated steam in June 2015.

QAL was fined $400,000 in the Gladstone Magistrates Court (14 December), and ordered to pay $11,382 in legal and investigation costs, on a charge of causing serious environmental harm.

QAL pleaded guilty to the charge and a conviction was recorded.

QAL held an environmental authority (EA) to operate an alumina refinery at Gladstone.

On 10 June 2015, the Court was told how QAL released contaminated steam containing dissolved alumina, sodium hydroxide and insoluble bauxite residue into the atmosphere, in contravention of its EA.

It was estimated some 7.1 tonnes of contaminants were released impacting residential and commercial districts in central Gladstone.

There were more than 1130 property damage claims made for the repair of vehicles and buildings within the path of the contaminant plume.

The Court was told the release occurred when a safety relief valve system activated during the commissioning of refinery equipment.

The Court ordered that a total of $150,000 of the $400,000 fine be paid to three community based organisations—$50,000 each to the Gidarjil Development Corporation, Port Curtis Harbour Watch, and the Conservation Volunteers Organisation—to assist in undertaking their projects for the purpose of enhancing the environment in a public place, for the public benefit.

EHP is a strong environmental regulator which is committed to a vision for a sustainable and prosperous Queensland.

Source: Department of Environment and Heritage Protection Queensland

NSW EPA updates its approach to enforceable undertakings

22/02/2017

The NSW EPA has just released its updated policy and process for negotiating enforceable undertakings. You can find the EPA’s policy and accompanying documents on the EPA website.  

Enforceable undertakings are voluntary and legally binding written agreements between the EPA and an operator who is alleged to have breached the EPA’s legislation. The agreement contains details of the commitments made by the operator in response to the alleged breach. The main benefit of an enforceable undertaking is that they are an efficient, flexible and transparent tool that can obtain fit-for-purpose commitments from operators.  

Enforceable undertakings are a regulatory option when there has been a serious breach. They are a more serious regulatory response than a written caution or penalty notice but less serious than a criminal prosecution.  

The new package delivers the following improvements:

A clearer process for negotiating enforceable undertakings. For example, the EPA has introduced an application form that must be completed by any operator proposing to negotiate an enforceable undertaking with the EPA. 

What an acceptable enforceable undertaking must include. For example, any proposal will generally need to go beyond mere compliance; the operator will need to consider if there are any industry-wide applications for the lessons learnt and if so how they can be shared; guidance on negotiating appropriate projects for the benefit of the environment or community.

What the EPA expects from any party that decides to enter into an enforceable undertaking negotiation process (e.g. the operator must be co-operative and forthcoming; the standard conditions of an enforceable undertaking).  

You can access copies of all enforceable undertakings entered into by the EPA here.  

If you are interested in the policy development process for this project you can contact continuous.improvement@epa.nsw.gov.au

 

Register for service station vapour recovery workshops by 24 February

16/02/2017

The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) is running a second round of workshops for council officers to provide practical information and guidance about vapour recovery technology and compliance. These workshops will be particularly useful to environment, regulatory or planning staff.  

The NSW Clean Air Regulation requires the installation of control equipment to reduce petrol vapour emissions at service stations.  

On 31 January, 2017 regulatory responsibility for vapour recovery was transitioned to councils, with the EPA continuing to manage non-compliant VR sites.  

As the compliance role is new for environment officers within councils the EPA is providing support in the transition process until 30 June, 2017.  

Registration for the workshops is limited to two officers per council at the following locations. Please register by 5pm, Friday 24 February 2017:  

Tuesday, 7 March (Hurstville)
Thursday, 9 March (Parramatta)
Friday, 10 March (Sydney CBD)  

For more information and to reserve your place please register.

REGISTER NOW

AELERT WEBINAR: Dealing with aggressive people

31/01/2017

Did you miss it? The video is now available to members.

WATCH VIDEO

FREE FOR AELERT MEMBERS

After the resounding success of his webinar on Inside the Mind: Psychology of an Interview Professor Karl Roberts returns to AELERT to discuss the challenging topic of Dealing with aggressive people.

Aggression is a complex subject, not least because what one person sees as an acceptable form of expressing anger or frustration may be seen by others as a violent act.

There are a number of fundamental techniques for dealing with aggression which should be put into practice, especially if it is feared that such aggression may escalate. 

Are you able to assess an uneasy interaction accurately?

Can you spot the warning signs of aggressive behaviour?

Do you have the ability to de-escalate a situation?

During this webinar, Dr Karl Roberts will present you with useful risk and threat assessment tools to help you to understand how to make accurate threat evaluations before interacting with people. 

You will learn to differentiate the key differences between violence stemming from instrumental motives versus expressive acts and you will acquire essential strategies on dealing with aggression and how to de-escalate a situation.  Professor Roberts will also take us through some case studies where violence has arisen and their outcomes.

 

TO ACCESS THE WEBINAR AND PASSWORD PLEASE ACCESS THE AELERT MEMBERS AREA

- How to access the webinar

- IT Requirements and testing

- Pre-Webinar Reading