EPA seeks public input to make sure polluters pay for their clean-up costs

The consultation on Financial Assurances has been extended to 1 May 2020. The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) is seeking comments and submissions on proposed measures that aim to ensure that those responsible for pollution or contamination pay the clean-up costs.

EPA Executive Director Regulatory Practice Nancy Chang said the NSW EPA operated under a polluter pays principle but when the polluter couldn’t or wouldn’t pay for the clean-up, the burden should not be left with NSW taxpayers.

“Under these proposed new measures, the EPA will take a risk-based approach to assess whether activities are of a high enough risk to need a financial assurance,” Ms Chang said.

“The NSW EPA is seeking comments and submissions on two draft policies that aim to provide a clear and consistent approach for how the EPA will manage potential environmental liabilities.”

  • The draft Financial Assurance Policy will help regulated companies or individuals identify when the EPA may require a financial assurance. The draft policy includes a risk categorisation tool that the EPA will apply to determine whether a financial assurance is justified due to the degree of risk of environmental harm, the remediation or other work that may be required, or the environmental record of the regulated party.
  • The draft Guideline on Estimating Financial Assurances will help regulated companies or individuals to obtain an independent assessment of costs where the EPA has determined that a financial assurance is required. This draft guideline provides a transparent and consistent method for estimating these financial assurances. The draft guideline has been reviewed by accounting and auditing experts to ensure it is robust and fit for its purpose.

This policy may apply to you if you:

  • hold or are applying for an environment protection licence issued under the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997 (POEO Act)
  • are given a management order issued under the Contaminated Land Management Act 1997 (CLM Act)
  • hold or are applying for a radiation management licence issued under the Radiation Control Act 1990 (RC Act)

and the EPA requires you to provide a financial assurance for certain actions required by your licence or management order.

Download the draft Financial Assurance Policy and draft Guideline on Estimating Financial Assurances at https://yoursay.epa.nsw.gov.au/assurances

How can I have my say?

The consultation is now open and was scheduled to close on 14 April 2020. However, to give people more time to provide feedback due to COVID-19, the consultation has been extended to 1 May 2020. Comments and written submissions can provided through the consultation website.

Information sessions

The NSW EPA is running a number of information sessions and online webinars for stakeholders on the draft proposals. Details about these sessions can also be found at: https://yoursay.epa.nsw.gov.au/assurances