URGENT – EPA public submissions on better environmental regulations close 31 October 2019!

From Environment Victoria:

Right now the Andrews government is considering new rules that could weaken the EPA’s powers to stop companies like AGL from dumping polluted water into our precious wetlands. These new rules also fail to set clear guidelines for the EPA to fulfill their duty to cut climate pollution.

On July 1 2020 Victoria’s new Environment Protection Act will come into effect. 

This will help shape Victoria’s environmental future. Strong environmental laws are vital to protect our precious ecosystems and cut climate pollution in Victoria.

Sadly, the proposed regulations that go with the new Act miss the mark on the climate crisis and protecting nature.

Earlier this year we exposed AGL’s efforts to weaken Victoria’s environmental legislation which would prevent them from building a gas import terminal in Westernport Bay’s Ramsar wetlands.

Now the EPA is proposing to weaken these regulations. For the first time in 30 years, companies like AGL could get the greenlight to discharge polluted water into our precious Victorian aquatic environments like internationally recognised Ramsar Wetlands.

And in the midst of a climate crisis that has seen hundreds of thousands of Australians marching for climate action, the proposed regulations fail to create clear guidelines for the Environment Protection Authority to deal with climate polluters. 

Despite already having the powers to deal with climate pollution, so far the EPA has chosen to do nothing, claiming existing regulations don’t provide clear guidelines. Now the EPA is about to pass up an opportunity to solve this “issue”, choosing to maintain the status quo. This is not good enough.

Visit the EPA submissions website here.

Writing a submission can take less than 5 minutes. Here are the two most pressing issues the EPA need to hear about:

  1. The proposed regulations do not create a framework for the EPA to manage and regulate greenhouse gases. In the midst of a climate crisis, we need clear rules that empower (or even better, require) the EPA to engage with climate polluters and limit their pollution.
  2. New legislation should raise environmental standards, especially for the most sensitive environments. It is crucial to keep the protections of clause 22(3) of the current State Environment Protection Policy (Waters) that forbids the EPA from approving new wastewater discharges in areas of high conservation value.

The new legislation is likely to shape Victoria’s environmental future for decades. We have until this Thursday October 31 to push for better environmental regulations that put our climate and our precious habitats first.

We need to seize this moment and let them know that Victorians care deeply about our climate, our unique ecosystems, and the generations to come. 

Sincerely,

Dr Nick Aberle

Environment Victoria

https://environmentvictoria.org.au/