Articles on environmental regulation

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What’s in that bottle? And is it safe? www.shutterstock.com

Will the new toxic chemical safety law protect us?

Congress has passed a long-overdue update of a key law regulating hazardous chemicals. But a legal scholar says the new law does not go far enough to reduce chemical exposure risks.
Justice scale and flag. St. Louis Circuit Attorney's Office/Wikimedia

Will anyone be prosecuted in the Flint water crisis?

Many observers have called for criminal prosecutions in Flint, Michigan's water crisis. A law professor with experience in federal and state government reviews the laws that may have been broken.
The biggest source of mercury in the U.S. continues to be coal power plants. booleansplit/flickr

Are tighter EPA controls on mercury pollution worth it?

Politicians rail against the EPA, but economic analysis shows the health benefits of mercury controls – including both higher IQ and heart health – are worth billions of dollars a year.
Hot on the tail of the VW emissions scandal, Australia will next year tighten diesel emissions standards. EPA/Julian Stratenschulte/AAP

Australia’s new emissions rules will put yet another bump in the road for diesels

Diesels typically have good fuel economy, but hot on the heels of the Volkswagen affair, Australia is set to tighten the rules for diesel car emissions - which will put a dent in engine performance.
Car makers pay close attention to the emissions regulations in the countries they export to. Everett Kennedy Brown/EPA/AAP

Could Australia become a dumping ground for high-emission vehicles?

Unlike many countries, Australia does not have mandatory greenhouse emissions standards for cars - meaning that manufacturers are free to sell their least efficient, most polluting vehicles here.
Monitoring fishing vessels could be a growth industry in the tiny Pacific island nations that govern the world’s largest tuna fishery. AAP Image/Xavier La Canna

The Pacific islands ‘tuna cartel’ is boosting jobs by watching fish

A tiny handful of Pacific island nations control more than 50% of the world's tuna fishery, and their efforts to monitor international fishing vessels are set to become a major source of jobs.
Under a Greens-PUP deal, the senate inquiry into the Queensland government will investigate coal seam gas approvals granted under the previous Queensland government. Jeremy Buckingham/Flickr

Greens-Palmer deal: a roadblock for environmental one-stop shop

The Greens have secured a deal with the Palmer United Party (PUP) and Labor that effectively kills the federal government’s plan to hand its environmental approval powers to the states under its “one-stop…
Tony Abbott may have planted a few trees, but he’s also sought to bury many of Australia’s environmental safeguards. Britta Campion/AAPImage

Abbott’s environment agenda is even harsher than he promised

Before the 2013 election, Tony Abbott gave us fair warning that he would turn the clock back on the environment. As promised, his government has devoted itself to short-term economics and the sort of hardline…
Under federal law, coal seam gas projects must be approved by the environment minister if they could have a significant impact on water. Jeremy Buckingham/Flickr

Coalition’s environmental one-stop shop is falling apart

The Palmer United Party (PUP) has added to the Coalition’s headaches in the Senate by announcing this week it would seek to remove the so-called “water trigger” from the government’s “one-stop shop” for…
Are Queensland’s cassowaries being let down by Canberra’s officialdom?. Dave Kimble/Wikimedia Commons

Cassowaries and chaplains: how to avoid Canberra’s conservation overreach

What do school chaplains and cassowaries have in common? Both highlight the degree to which federal governments struggle to devolve quality public decision-making to the right level. Our schools and our…
The new budget has served up a big hit to Australia’s environment. Anton Balazh/Shutterstock

Litany of deep cuts for environmental programs

Budgets are often framed as give and take. But in the case of the environment, the government is taking large amounts of money in cuts, while giving little back beyond funding the Direct Action climate…
Part of Shoalwater Bay in Queensland, where the federal government blocked a major new coal port in 2008 over its “clearly unacceptable” environmental impacts". Daniel E. Smith/Wikimedia Commons

‘Green tape’ cuts: industry wins, locals and the environment lose

Deep cuts to environmental programs and staff predicted in today’s federal budget aren’t the only “green” cuts that Australians should be concerned about. The federal government is currently holding an…
A report criticising government oversight of a major Gladstone harbour dredging project has warned against cutting resources for environmental monitoring and compliance. Flickr/GreensMPs

Environmental job cuts risk a repeat of Gladstone failures

A long-awaited report on environmental failures at the biggest port along the Great Barrier Reef coastline and today’s federal budget may not seem connected – but if you read the report, it’s clear just…
Tourists wear protective masks in smoggy Tiananmen Square on February 26, 2014, when the air quality was officially ‘hazardous’. EPA/Rolex Dela Pena

China can’t smother growing public demands to clear the air

Beijing has once again experienced extremely poor air quality, in what is becoming a regular event for the Chinese capital and other parts of the country. But has anything changed since the last “airpocalypse…

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