Please find below the following legislation updates applicable to the environmental field:

Notices and comments:

  1. EAPASA Board – proposed EAPASA Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Guidelines – for comment – see EAPASA website – comment by 15 July 2019
  2. Department of Environmental Affairs “Mitigation Monitoring and Evaluation Guidelines Series of the National Climate Change Response Monitoring and Evaluation System Volume 1” (June 2019)

Interesting readings:

Biodiversity:

  1. Science: Stokstad E “Twice as many plants have gone extinct than birds, mammals, and amphibians combined” 10 June 2019
  2. The Independent: “Scotland plants 22 million trees to tackle climate crisis while England falls 7 million short of target” 15 June 2019
  3. De Greef K “500 Vultures Killed in Botswana by Poachers’ Poison, Government Says” [Botswana] New York Times 21 June 2019
  4. The Conversation: Kock A “Robben Island joins list of 20 new protected marine sites in South Africa” 25 June 2019

Climate change and energy:

  1. Weston P “How will the UK implement its 2050 carbon pledge?” The Independent 15 June 2019
  2. The Independent: “Iceberg size of Manhattan breaks off shelf in Antarctica in timelapse video” 20 June 2019
  3. Frankfurt School: “Renewable energy investment in 2018 hit USD 288.9 billion, far exceeding fossil fuel investment” 18 June 2019
  4. “Trump dismisses need for climate change action: ‘We have the cleanest water we’ve ever had, we have the cleanest air’” The Independent 29 June 2019

Miscellaneous:

  1. UNDP: “Every Breath You Take: The staggering, true cost of air pollution” 4 June 2019

Waste, Water and Chemicals:

  1. Weston P “Banned pesticide DDT still damaging ecosystems 50 years after it was sprayed” The Independent 12 June 2019

Summary of interesting court cases:

  1. Environmental: Activists challenge renewal of Sasol plant’s licence
    “Environmental activists are challenging the renewal of Sasol’s atmospheric emissions licence for its Secunda synfuels plant – the biggest single point emitter of greenhouse gases in the world – which they say was granted without proper consideration of alternatives that would result in cleaner air, notes a Business Day report. It says the challenge is the second legal action by activists on the Mpumalanga Highveld in a week and is an indication that companies can expect to face much tougher environmental opposition in the future. The Sasol plant in Secunda received the renewal of its licence from the Gert Sibande District Municipality in April. The Vaal Environmental Justice Alliance launched an appeal against the renewal through its lawyer, the Legal Resources Centre. In its letter to the municipality, the Legal Resources Centre argues that in renewing the licence the municipality failed to interrogate Sasol on possible alternatives to the use of coal, the feedstock from which synthetic fuels are produced. It argues that if Sasol was to replace coal with natural gas, the emission of hydrogen sulfide, a colourless poisonous gas, would be reduced to almost zero. The centre says that Sasol has the know-how and resources to re-power its steam plants with natural gas and convert the synfuels plant to a gas-to-liquids plant. Under the National Environmental Management Air Quality Act, the municipality should have considered the possibility of converting the Secunda plant to run on natural gas as it must ‘take the best practicable environmental options available’ to ‘prevent, control, abate or mitigate that pollution’. Because it did not ask Sasol to present information to it regarding the feasibility of substituting all or a significant part of its coal feedstock, it failed to apply its mind to how to reduce emissions, the centre argues.”
  2. Criminal: BP guilty of environmental breaches
    “BP South Africa, convicted of environmental crimes in a private prosecution, and the Uzani Environmental Advocacy have been instructed by the Gauteng High Court (Johannesburg) to make representations regarding sentencing in the matter by 1 November. According to a Beeld report, BP replaced its lead counsel, Mike Hellens SC, with Barry Roux SC, who appeared on behalf of the petroleum giant on Friday when Judge Brian Spilg instructed the parties to present arguments regarding fines. The Environmental Protection Act provides for a fine of R100 000 plus up to three times the ‘commercial value’ of the 17 petrol stations constructed by BP in Gauteng without the necessary environmental impact assessments. The National Environmental Management Act also allows a possible fine equal to the monetary benefit BP derived by constructing the petrol stations. Spilg wants legal certainty on how these two Acts apply to the current case. He earlier held that the mere fact that BP applied to set matters right legally after construction in terms of section 24G of the Act makes the company guilty of an offence for not seeking approval before construction. BP said on Friday it did not agree with the conviction. ‘The legal process continues and BP is considering all its options,’ it said in a statement.”
  3. Criminal: Farmer fined R3.5m for breaking water laws
    “The owner of Tierhoek Boerdery in Clanwilliam has been slapped with a R3.5m fine for unlawful water activities. A Cape Times report says the farmer was found guilty in the Clanwilliam Regional Court of 11 criminal charges – six related to water, and five to environmental transgressions. This outcome was due to the co-operation between the Department of Water & Sanitation, the provincial Department of Environmental Affairs & Development Planning, and the NPA’s Assets Forfeiture Unit. The farmer allegedly contravened section 49A of the National Environmental Management Act by developing infrastructure for the off-stream storage of water. He was found guilty of unlawfully and intentionally failing to comply with the National Water Act by storing water without authorisation and failure to register and to submit an application to register dams with a safety risk 11 within 120 days to the Department of Water & Sanitation after completion of a dam. He was ordered to pay R1.25m to the Department of Water & Sanitation, R1.2m to the Provincial Department of Environmental Affairs & Development Planning, and R1m to the NPA.”

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