Malaysia: Ministry uncomfortable about illegal land clearing

The recent land clearing activities at Mount Santubong for the proposed cable car project might negatively impact the surrounding environment and hence the tourism sector.

Deputy Tourism Minister Datuk James Dawos Mamit said yesterday his ministry was “uncomfortable” about the illegal land clearing as the environmental impact assessment (EIA) and project feasibility were not yet concluded when clearing work started.

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.

Myanmar: Group calls for review of pipelines

Mandalay-based environmental group Seinyaungso has called on the government to halt an oil and gas pipeline project in the interests of the country.

The pipelines, which will run from Kyaukpyu in Rakhine State to Yunnan Province in China, are joint projects between China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) and Myanma Oil and Gas Enterprise (MOGE). However, Seinyaungso said ownership and management of the piplines was out of Myanmar’s control. Companies from South Korea and India are also investors in the natural gas pipeline.

Malaysia: Penan resettlement sites: ‘Why notify only now’?

Save Rivers Network (SAVE Rivers) has ridiculed the first notification of the Social and Environmental Impact Assessment (SEIA) Report for the proposed resettlement sites and service centre for the Penans affected by the Murum dam project.

The notification was released on Oct 11 by the State Planning Unit (SPU) and involved the Metalun and Tegulang Resettlement sites as well as the Murum service centre.

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.

India: Citizens, groups seek probe into irrigation scam

Over 25 groups and individuals have demanded that an independent credible commission urgently probe the irrigation scam in the state and have sent a letter to chief minister Prithviraj Chavan and governor K Sankarnarayanan in this regard.

In the letter, the organisations have demanded an independent scrutiny of the water resource development projects in the state undertaken during the last 17 years, including major and medium dams, lift irrigation, hydropower, drinking water and industrial water supply projects.

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.

PNG tourism minister queries Nautilus seabed mining project

Papua New Guinea’s Tourism Minister says he does not agree with seabed mining in the Bismarck Sea in the absence of an independent environment impact assessment.

The Canadian firm, Nautilus Minerals, is pioneering the technology to extract minerals from the ocean floor.

The minister, Boka Kondra, says the oil disaster and the environmental damage in the Gulf of Mexico demonstrated the inability of rich resources companies to prevent the destruction of marine and wild life.

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, ruv.is reports.

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