Protecting Wilderness and National Parks

The EPA is a long way from being a pollution policeman

“One main environmental gain in Premier Baird’s 100 achievements released today relies on the EPA to improve of the local environment, yet it doesn’t stack up to much!  We are yet to see a ‘tough and independent’ EPA (achievement 76)’ acting as an effective pollution policeman.  Rather we currently have a pollution approval agency, generally captive to the industry it regulates as has been pointed out by the Upper House Inquiry also released today,” said Keith Muir director of the Colong Foundation for Wilderness.

“The EPA might move towards effective enforcement if all the recommendations of the Upper House Inquiry were adopted, but the culture of pollution approval would remain,” Mr Muir said.

“The EPA by law will continue to licence industry to emit damaging pollution into the environment.  The EPA will continue to licence toxic pollution, even when it is discharged into pristine rivers flowing through World Heritage Areas”, said Mr Muir.

“For over 30 years the EPA has allowed serious and cumulative mine pollution to kill aquatic life in the otherwise pristine Wollangambe River that flows through the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area,” he said.

“The EPA must take a view beyond its narrow pollution control perspective and be focussed on environmental health”, said Mr Muir. 

Some of the recent “solutions” for pollution of the Wollangambe River has caused more problems, with more waste from the mine to be transferred to Lithgow’s drinking water supply.”

“If the solution to polluting a World Heritage Area is to instead pollute a drinking water supply, then the EPA has a long way to go to meet Premier Baird’s claim of successfully protecting the local environment,” Mr Muir said.