Articles on Environmental law

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In addition to the Clean Power Act policy for climate change, the Supreme Court will be hearing cases on the extent of protections under the Clean Water Act. ex_magician/flickr

What Scalia’s death means for environment and climate

A look at Scalia's decidedly negative legacy on environment reveals how important the next Supreme Court will be on environmental questions, including the EPA Clean Power Plan.
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 stage is set for a climate agreement - although it may be political rather than legal. EPA/Yoan Valat/AAP

Will the Paris agreement be legally binding?

Probably not, but that might be for the best if it encourages countries to be more ambitious in their commitments, rather than playing it safe to avoid falling foul of legal obligations.
Protesters in Brisbane campaigning for more rights for landowners against coal seam gas. AAP Image/Cleo Fraser

Who gets to decide whether we dig up coal and gas?

As a landowner, can you veto a coal seam gas development? And does the environment minister have the power to say no to coal mines?
Federal Attorney-General George Brandis wants to remove green groups’ blanket eligibility to challenge environmental approvals in the courts. AAP Image/Mick Tsikas

Brandis’ changes to environmental laws will defang the watchdogs

The government plans to change the law so green groups don't automatically qualify to mount legal challenges against environmental approvals. That would make it much harder for green watchdogs to act.
Cattle on the Liverpool Plains in New South Wales. The new coal mine is to be developed in the hills nearby. Image Library/Flickr

Shenhua mine: the federal government could have chosen farming over coal

Federal environment minister Greg Hunt has claimed that he had no choice but to approve Shenhua's controversial Watermark Coal Mine near Gunnedah in New South Wales. But the legislation suggests otherwise.
Hefty problem: a local council was left with a huge clean-up bill after a dead whale washed up in Perth last year. AAP Image/City of Stirling

Dead whales are expensive – whose job is it to clear them up?

Dead whales can cost beachside ratepayers a lot to clean up. The alternative is to tow them away before they wash up - but the legal question of who does the job is far more complex than it sounds.
A coal seam gas field in New South Wales. The independent review concludes health impacts can be regulated; experts say otherwise. Jeremy Buckingham/Flickr

Chief Scientist CSG report leaves health concerns unanswered

The long-awaited independent review of coal seam gas (CSG) in New South Wales, released last week by the NSW Chief Scientist, highlighted many risks and uncertainties around human health from exposure…
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…

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