Fix Our Environment Laws: Protect water and our climate

Water is life. But right now, frackers are moving in on the Northern Territory and Western Australia, and water is at risk of being poisoned before it’s protected. That’s why across the country, people are calling on Tanya Plibersek to fast track stronger water protections to stop them in time!

Sign the petition

About the campaign

If fracking corporations have their way, tens of thousands of wells could be drilled in the Northern Territory and Western Australia, leaking toxic ‘forever’ chemicals into our groundwater and releasing millions of tonnes of climate pollution – every single year.

After a powerful campaign led by Traditional Owners and backed in by everyday people across the country, Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek and the Labor government last year amended our environment laws so that fracking in the NT and WA is subject to Federal assessment.

Now we need the Minister to use the laws she has at her fingertips to “call in” fracking corporations Tamboran and Empire (because they’re not going to refer themselves) before they get started on their full scale drilling operation.

What’s at risk?

With its super-sized rigs known as ‘mega frackers’, Tamboran Resources is preparing to drill across hundreds of kilometres, use up to quadruple the amount of water than anything else in Australia, inject toxic forever chemicals into the ground, and release millions of tonnes of climate pollution – every single year.

In the United States, thousands of fracking wells were drilled before the regulations caught up. By the time they did, it was too late, and tonnes of cancer-causing chemicals were already in the land and water. Frackers are banking on the same situation taking place in Australia – but we won’t let it happen.

In the Northern Territory, fracking is in the so-called ‘exploration’ phase, where there are very few regulations. There’s no need to consult with Traditional Owners, minimise harm, or even secure a licence before selling fracked gas from exploration. It’s known as “production by stealth” – and sales are about to kick off.

What you can do about it

You can help make protecting water a major issue for MPs and Senators across the country. Simply click here download a letter and artwork designed by (XXXX) to deliver to an MP or Senator’s office and ask them to raise the matter with Plibersek’s office directly. Head along alone or with a friend, and remember to snap a pic!

Once you’ve done it, let us know on and send us the photo.

Tell me more about our new national environment laws

The Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act was designed by the Howard government, but since it come into effect has done little to protect our environment. Under the law, all sorts of new projects and developments must go through an environmental approval process. This is to assess their impact and make sure they won’t negatively affect our cherished landscapes, unique wildlife and cultural heritage.

But to date, the Act has approved 740 coal and gas projects and rejected just 1. There is no scope in the Act to consider the impact a project will have on climate change and does not account for emissions burnt offshore.

Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek is rewriting our national environment laws by reforming the EPBC Act, but in April this year, announced that she’s delaying the full reforms, at a time when nature and our climate can least afford it. The Government will table the addition of Environmental Information Australia and an Environmental Protection Agency to the law but without meaningful updates to the rest of the legislation, these two agencies are powerless.

Civil society groups are asking for five key things when the Government makes the new Environmental Protection Agency:

  1. Put climate into Australia’s environment law and make fossil fuel companies accountable for their downstream pollution
  2. End the decades-long environment law exemption for native forest logging on public land
  3. Make sure land clearing is treated like any other environmental impact under Australia’s environment law
  4. Give Australian wildlife the certainty of a “quick no” with up front protection to stop unacceptable impacts.
  5. Create National Environment Standards for decision making as promised to restore trust in our national environment law.

Sign the Petition: Ask Minister Plibersek to urgently fix our environment laws

Dear Minister Plibersek,

Thank you for committing to national environmental law reforms.

As you know, the current laws do not cover all fossil fuel projects, despite their significant impact on the environment.

To fix our laws, we call on you to include:

  1. End all coal and gas approvals – there is no room for more fossil fuel projects in a safe climate;
  2. Stronger water protection in line with Labor’s 2022 election commitment to a water trigger that includes shale and tight gas, to be introduced and passed ASAP this year.
  3. Climate impacts must be fully and explicitly integrated into environmental decision making. All projects seeking approval must also disclose their Scope 3 emissions for assessment;
  4. Our new nature laws must truly value and incorporate the rights, knowledge and culture of First Nations people;
  5. Greater transparency and accountability of decisions through a third party merits review and independent EPA.

We look forward to new national environment laws that will protect Country and climate for generations to come.

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