Australia: Coal seam gas seen as just another land use in a big country

In 2011, the Australian Council of Environmental Deans and Directors (ACEDD) asked Dr John Williams, former Chief of CSIRO Land and Water Division, to review the science on coal seam gas. John’s report, now released, is probably the most independent, disinterested nationwide analysis yet undertaken of unconventional gas in Australia. This report is entirely uncompromised by either industry or activist-group funding.

Australia: No full environmental impact study needed on BHP Billiton's rejigged Olympic Dam expansion plan, says Premier

The alternative technologies now being investigated by BHP had "always been contemplated", Mr Weatherill said.

While there still would be hundreds of individual approvals required as BHP Billiton finalised its reconfigured plan, existing approvals - extended yesterday to 2016 - covered the changes.

"The overarching principle is this - this expansion will operate in accordance with the highest environmental standards supervised by an independent Environment Protection Authority," he said.

Mr Weatherill was speaking at Wingfield mineral processing laboratory Bureau Veritas Amdel.

Taiwan: Groups protest against sacrifice of environmental impact system

Environmental protection organizations protested the government's perceived sacrifice of the environmental impact assessment (EIA) system in favor of investors at a press conference in front of the Executive Yuan yesterday.

The Green Party Taiwan (GPT), one of the participating organizations, said “inappropriate industrial policies are the main issue causing the downfall of the economy. Instead, the government intends to lower the standards of environmental protection to attract foreign capital to invest in Taiwanese businesses.”

Fiji: Leave the trees alone

CALLS have been made to the Suva City Council (SCC) special administrator Chandu Umaria to hold open public consultations on his move to cut down historical trees in the city.

An environment activist Patricia Mallam voiced her disappointment saying that Mr Umaria needed to seek the ideas of forestry experts, other stakeholders including historians, cultural heritage and youth groups to make their submissions on whether this was the best possible option for the city of Suva.

Australian coal port expansions to have minimal environmental impact: study

The planned expansion of Australia's Abbot Point and Hay Point coal ports over the next few years will have little impact on the environment including the Great Barrier Reef, a study sponsored by the industry showed Wednesday.

The study was commissioned by BHP Billiton, GVK Hancock and Adani, which are seeking to expand the two export ports to accommodate the growing thermal coal production in eastern Australia.

Environmental impact of hydropower developments in the Amazon

Brazil has been facing criticism from international institutions and non-profit organisations regarding the environmental and social impacts of the implementation of hydropower projects in the Amazon. Concern mainly arises in relation to the country's supposed non-compliance with International Convention 169 on Indigenous and Tribal Peoples in Independent Countries, issued by the International Labour Organisation and ratified by over 20 countries. As a result, Brazil is at risk of jeopardising its long-term energy plan.

Australia: Greens wary of oil and gas search plan

The Greens want the Federal Government to impose stricter environmental safeguards before an exploration company is given approval for an oil and gas search between Eyre Peninsula and Kangaroo Island.

Bight Petroleum has lodged an application to look for drilling sites in a 3,000-square-kilometre area off the South Australian coast.

The company already has exploration permits for the area and is hoping to begin seismic surveys early next year.

Greens Senator Penny Wright says a detailed environmental impact assessment should be done before any activity begins.

State approves Western Australia's first uranium mine

Environmental approval has been granted for what could be Western Australia's first uranium mine.

Environment Minister Bill Marmion today announced Toro Energy Limited's proposed uranium mine near Wiluna, in the northern Goldfields had been granted final environmental approval, subject to conditions.

Mr Marmion said his decision followed three weeks' consultation with other decision-making authorities following the draft environmental approval.

Australia: GVK Hancock’s coal terminal gets environmental approval

Federal Environment Minister, Tony Burke, has approved GVK Hancock Coal’s proposed Abbot Point export terminal, which will service the $10bn Alpha thermal coal project, located in the Galilee Basin.

The Alpha Coal mine and railway to port received approval previously, in August.

GVK Hancock said it will now finalise construction and rail contracts as well as secondary approvals. First coal from the Alpha Project is scheduled for early 2016.

Environmentalists against North Iceland Power Plant

Nature protection NGO Landvernd has requested that preparations for a 45-90 MW geothermal power plant in Bjarnarflag near Lake Mývatn in Northeast Iceland be stopped because neither a permanent operational license nor framework agreement are at hand.

Landsvirkjun, the national power company, is working on land formation and road construction where the planned powerhouse is to be constructed, reports.

These are extensive operations in an area measuring 800 meters in a valley west of Námafjall, a geothermal area frequently visited by tourists.