Tag: endangers

Explainer: Indonesia’s jobs law endangers environment, say activists, investors

JAKARTA/SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Environmentalists in Indonesia are calling for the reversal of a controversial law aimed at job creation because it is seen favouring business interests at the expense of the environment and labour.

A demonstrator holds an Indonesian flag during a protest against the government’s labour reforms in a controversial jobs creation law in Jakarta, Indonesia, October 8, 2020. REUTERS/Willy Kurniawan

Indonesia, the world’s biggest producer of palm oil and nickel ore for electric vehicle batteries, has forests bigger than any outside the Amazon and Congo, and environmentalists say the country’s abundant natural reserves could be exploited under the new law.

The reforms are contained in a so-called “omnibus” bill of changes in more than 70 laws, which allowed parliament to vote in a single swoop and pass the measure on Monday.

Thousands of people took to the streets of cities across Indonesia over the past three days, part of protests and national strikes against the law.

The government says the law is needed to improve the investment climate and create jobs in Southeast Asia’s largest economy. It says the environment will be protected.

Here are some of the changes to environmental rules:

AMDAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL PERMITS

The new law merges the approval of business permits with environmental permits.

To get an environmental permit under the previous legislation, companies exploiting natural resources had to produce an AMDAL – a study to assess the impact investments have on the environment and local communities.

The new AMDAL process has removed a requirement for companies to consult environmental experts by only allowing “directly impacted communities” to give input for the assessment.

“Sure, it (AMDAL) is still there, but it is weakened,” Asep Komaruddin, a senior forest campaigner at Greenpeace, told Reuters.

Environment Minister Siti Nurbaya Bakar says undermining environmental laws will now incur more risk to a company as its business permit would also be on the line.

MINIMUM FOREST AREA

The previous law required Indonesian islands have a forest cover of at least 30%. This requirement has been removed, raising concerns that palm oil plantations and mining companies could sharply step up land clearance.

The law risks provinces like Riau, Jambi and South Sumatra, home to massive palm oil plantations, losing natural forests within 20 years, environmental group The Sustainable Madani Foundation said.

“Losing forests is more than just losing tree cover,” said Teguh Surya, the foundation’s executive director.

“(It also means) increasing intensity of forest fires, floods and landslides, harvest failures, a lack of clean water”.

Bambang Hendroyono, an environment ministry official, said the previous 30% threshold was “unscientific” and would be replaced by new metrics.

The new law calls for minimum forest areas to be based on “geophysics”, and “socioeconomic conditions”, but does not provide any specifics.

PENALTIES FOR FOREST FIRES, DUMPING TOXIC WASTE

In previous regulations, companies were responsible for environmental damage in their concessions, even if there was no proof that the company was at fault.

This is known in legal terms as “strict liability”.

Environmentalists say

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Explainer: Indonesia’s Jobs Law Endangers Environment, Say Activists, Investors | World News

By Fathin Ungku, Gayatri Suroyo and Bernadette Christina

JAKARTA/SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Environmentalists in Indonesia are calling for the reversal of a controversial law aimed at job creation because it is seen favouring business interests at the expense of the environment and labour.

Indonesia, the world’s biggest producer of palm oil and nickel ore for electric vehicle batteries, has forests bigger than any outside the Amazon and Congo, and environmentalists say the country’s abundant natural reserves could be exploited under the new law.

The reforms are contained in a so-called “omnibus” bill of changes in more than 70 laws, which allowed parliament to vote in a single swoop and pass the measure on Monday.

Thousands of people took to the streets of cities across Indonesia over the past three days, part of protests and national strikes against the law.

The government says the law is needed to improve the investment climate and create jobs in Southeast Asia’s largest economy. It says the environment will be protected.

Here are some of the changes to environmental rules:

AMDAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL PERMITS

The new law merges the approval of business permits with environmental permits.

To get an environmental permit under the previous legislation, companies exploiting natural resources had to produce an AMDAL – a study to assess the impact investments have on the environment and local communities.

The new AMDAL process has removed a requirement for companies to consult environmental experts by only allowing “directly impacted communities” to give input for the assessment.

“Sure, it (AMDAL) is still there, but it is weakened,” Asep Komaruddin, a senior forest campaigner at Greenpeace, told Reuters.

Environment Minister Siti Nurbaya Bakar says undermining environmental laws will now incur more risk to a company as its business permit would also be on the line.

The previous law required Indonesian islands have a forest cover of at least 30%. This requirement has been removed, raising concerns that palm oil plantations and mining companies could sharply step up land clearance.

The law risks provinces like Riau, Jambi and South Sumatra, home to massive palm oil plantations, losing natural forests within 20 years, environmental group The Sustainable Madani Foundation said.

“Losing forests is more than just losing tree cover,” said Teguh Surya, the foundation’s executive director.

“(It also means) increasing intensity of forest fires, floods and landslides, harvest failures, a lack of clean water”.

Bambang Hendroyono, an environment ministry official, said the previous 30% threshold was “unscientific” and would be replaced by new metrics.

The new law calls for minimum forest areas to be based on “geophysics”, and “socioeconomic conditions”, but does not provide any specifics.

PENALTIES FOR FOREST FIRES, DUMPING TOXIC WASTE

In previous regulations, companies were responsible for environmental damage in their concessions, even if there was no proof that the company was at fault.

This is known in legal terms as “strict liability”.

Environmentalists say the wording of the section is vague under the new law and proof of wrongdoing is now required to prosecute the company.

Officials

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Indonesia’s jobs law endangers environment, say activists, investors

By Fathin Ungku, Gayatri Suroyo and Bernadette Christina

JAKARTA/SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Environmentalists in Indonesia are calling for the reversal of a controversial law aimed at job creation because it is seen favouring business interests at the expense of the environment and labour.

Indonesia, the world’s biggest producer of palm oil and nickel ore for electric vehicle batteries, has forests bigger than any outside the Amazon and Congo, and environmentalists say the country’s abundant natural reserves could be exploited under the new law.

The reforms are contained in a so-called “omnibus” bill of changes in more than 70 laws, which allowed parliament to vote in a single swoop and pass the measure on Monday.

Thousands of people took to the streets of cities across Indonesia over the past three days, part of protests and national strikes against the law.

The government says the law is needed to improve the investment climate and create jobs in Southeast Asia’s largest economy. It says the environment will be protected.

Here are some of the changes to environmental rules:

AMDAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL PERMITS

The new law merges the approval of business permits with environmental permits.

To get an environmental permit under the previous legislation, companies exploiting natural resources had to produce an AMDAL – a study to assess the impact investments have on the environment and local communities.

The new AMDAL process has removed a requirement for companies to consult environmental experts by only allowing “directly impacted communities” to give input for the assessment.

“Sure, it (AMDAL) is still there, but it is weakened,” Asep Komaruddin, a senior forest campaigner at Greenpeace, told Reuters.

Environment Minister Siti Nurbaya Bakar says undermining environmental laws will now incur more risk to a company as its business permit would also be on the line.

MINIMUM FOREST AREA

The previous law required Indonesian islands have a forest cover of at least 30%. This requirement has been removed, raising concerns that palm oil plantations and mining companies could sharply step up land clearance.

The law risks provinces like Riau, Jambi and South Sumatra, home to massive palm oil plantations, losing natural forests within 20 years, environmental group The Sustainable Madani Foundation said.

“Losing forests is more than just losing tree cover,” said Teguh Surya, the foundation’s executive director.

“(It also means) increasing intensity of forest fires, floods and landslides, harvest failures, a lack of clean water”.

Bambang Hendroyono, an environment ministry official, said the previous 30% threshold was “unscientific” and would be replaced by new metrics.

The new law calls for minimum forest areas to be based on “geophysics”, and “socioeconomic conditions”, but does not provide any specifics.

PENALTIES FOR FOREST FIRES, DUMPING TOXIC WASTE

In previous regulations, companies were responsible for environmental damage in their concessions, even if there was no proof that the company was at fault.

This is known in legal terms as “strict liability”.

Environmentalists say the wording of the section is vague under the new law and proof of wrongdoing is now required

Continue reading