Ministers hint at possible rethink of environmental 'lawfare' crackdown

Senior members of the federal government have indicated that a review of proposed laws that would restrict environmental groups’ ability to challenge development projects could be on the cards, in the leadup to a Senate inquiry issuing its findings on the controversial bill.

Analysis Coalition MPs on 'green lawfare': mung bean soup to treasonous sabotage
Australian politicians are going to considerable trouble explaining why the Abbott government has to limit environmental groups’ legal rights
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Revealed: Australia's timber treatment plant's toxic legacy

A multinational corporation was allowed to pollute Canberra water with toxic chemicals in a case exposing more than a decade of failings by ACT authorities.

Koppers Wood Products' timber treatment plant in Hume caused hexavalent chromium, a carcinogen made infamous by environmental activist Erin Brockovich, to leach into groundwater at up to 2430 times the safe limit by 2007.

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.

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.

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.

Environmental assessment for controversial Australian coal mine released

The mining company planning a state-owned coal mine near Dunedoo says it is confident the proposal will not affect local water users.

The Environmental Assessment (EA) for the Cobbora Coal mine goes on public exhibition for six weeks from today.

It has already been questioned by the Mid-Western Regional Council which is concerned about the modelling used to collect water data.

The acting chief executive of the Cobbora Holding Company Steve Ireland says the assessment both surface and groundwater concerns.

PTTEP fined A$510,000 for Montara incident

PTT Exploration and Production Plc (PTTEP) is fined 510,000 Australian dollar or approximately Bt16.55 million for the 2009 fire incident at its Montara field, off the coast of Australia.

In a statement to the Stock Exchange of Thailand, PTTEP President and CEO Tevin Vongvanich said that the company’s wholly-owned subsidiary PTTEP Australia (Ashmore Cartier) Pty Ltd plead guilty to four charges brought by NOPSEMA (National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management) in relation to incompliance with regulations from the Montara incident.