Amid reports that Shree Minerals' Nelson Bay River mine is under investigation for breaching its federal environmental permit, Australian Greens Leader Christine Milne says the Abbott government must not proceed with plans to hand protection powers over to the state.
It's believed the Tasmanian Government amended its permit to allow the Nelson Bay River Mine to produce 20 times more acid-producing waste rock than originally planned, but the Federal Environment Department was not notified or given a chance to model the impacts on threatened species.
"It's clear Tasmanian projects need that extra level of scrutiny at the federal level. Handing environmental approval powers to the Hodgman government presents an unacceptable risk to our threatened plants and animals," said Senator Milne
"Quietly allowing this huge increase of acidic waste from Shree is just the latest example.
"Australia is on the cusp of its third wave of animal extinctions: the first caused by European arrival, the second by introduced species and now the third by our refusal to adequately fund habitat protection and research.
"It is the federal government's responsibility to look after the most important and precious of Australia's internationally significant environmental assets, like the Tarkine and the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area.
"No state-based decision making process will be able to replace the protection meant to be provided by the federal government under our international obligations.
"The one-stop-shop for environmental approvals is a bad idea. If state governments had their way, the Great Barrier Reef would be scarred by oil rigs, and the now iconic Franklin River in the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area would be dammed," Senator Milne said.
Senator Milne is making a submission to the draft Tasmanian-Australian bilateral agreement which closes next Thursday, 11 September 2014.