Namoi Cotton funds first stage of $100,000 environmental restoration works under an EPA Enforceable Undertaking

As part of an agreement with the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA), Namoi Cotton has now provided $50,000 of $100,000 it has committed for a project to rehabilitate a major public reserve at Myall Vale on the Namoi River near Wee Waa, in north-western NSW.

The funding is the result of an Enforceable Undertaking implemented in August last year between the EPA and Namoi Cotton Co-operative Ltd. The Enforceable Undertaking agreement follows an investigation by the EPA into an environmental incident in 2012. The incident resulted in cotton trash entering the Namoi River.

Chief Environmental Regulator Mark Gifford said the funding for rehabilitation of the Myall Vale reserve was a positive result for the environment and the local community.

“An Enforceable Undertaking is one of the regulatory tools that the EPA can utilise. It is an alternative to prosecution and Court imposed fines for breaches of environmental legislation.

“Under this Enforceable Undertaking, we required Namoi Cotton to pay $100,000 towards an environmental project in the Narrabri Shire. The project has now been agreed and Namoi Cotton has paid the first $50,000. The second instalment of $50,000 will be paid next financial year.

“The rehabilitation project is being implemented as part of a riverine rehabilitation program run by the Department of Primary Industries – Fisheries NSW.

“We also required Namoi Cotton to remove all cotton trash from the land, immediately cease using the land for depositing of cotton trash, and review and update its internal environmental policies and systems."

In addition the company was required to provide training to its employees, undertake an environmental risk assessment of its operations, nominate senior managers with responsibilities for environmental performance and publish a notice in several local newspapers containing details of the Enforceable Undertaking.

Mr Gifford said that Namoi Cotton fully cooperated with the EPA’s investigation at the time and has since put in place updated procedures to avoid any repetition of the incident.

“The improved environmental performance of the company as a result of the Enforceable Undertaking is a significant outcome.

“It is also pleasing to note that the funds provided by Namoi Cotton are being directed towards environmental improvement by providing critical support to this important rehabilitation program.”