If you are interested in the environmental obligations of a resource company doing work on your property or in your area, you now may be able to get a copy of their Environmental Authority (“EA”) through an online register.
EAs are issued by the Queensland Government and are required where there is potential for contaminants to be released into the environment. Most mining and petroleum (including coal seam gas) projects need to have an EA before they can start their activities.
An EA sets out the obligations required for the company to conduct their activities in an environmentally responsible way. They can include minimum standards on dust, noise, light and other conditions on water, erosion, plant and animal protection, chemical storage and other important factors. An EA might say for example that a company cannot make loud noises near your house or at night. EA conditions are in addition to what companies are already required to do by law for their exploration or mining leases.
Petroleum (coal seam gas) activity EAs have been available through a public register for some time, and now the register has been expanded to include EAs for site specific exploration and mining projects.
There are still some projects which may not have an EA available through this search as they may operate under the government standard conditions, but this new register is a great way for landowners to know what a company is or is not allowed to do and when.
The online EA register can be accessed here. You can search the register by permit or tenure number, local government area or by the named permit holder.
If you have any concerns that a resource company may not be complying with their environmental obligations on your property, you should contact a solicitor or speak to the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection.