Environment law 2014 March update

This SA environment law 2014 March update includes Bills, Notices, SANS standards, and fracking policy updates.

Comment on enviro standards

Three draft environmental management standards are open for public comment up to 27 March 2014;
•    SANS 14006: Environmental management systems – Guidelines for incorporating eco-design
•    SANS 14045: Environmental management – Eco-efficiency assessment of product systems – Principles, requirements and guidelines
•    SANS 14051: Environmental management – Material flow cost accounting – General framework.

Waste Management Bureau controversy

Despite rigorous opposition, the SA state set up a Waste Management Bureau to be funded by industry. An addition¬al provision has been included to develop a pricing strategy to fund the Bureau. Chemicals operators will “try and ensure that there is no levy on the chemicals sector, which already invests heavily in the safe management of its waste”.

Meanwhile Environmental Affairs Government notice 68 under the National Environmental Management: Waste Act, published draft national norms and standards for organic waste composting.

National norms and standards for the storage of waste, and a list of waste management activities that have, or are likely to have, a detrimental effect on the environment, were published recently.

Climate Change White Paper amended

A Mitigation Analysis report on the Climate Change White Paper was amended to address concerns raised by Business and may be adopted soon.

Source-specific emission limits too tough

Some operators said they could not comply with the new chemical plant standards as applied to existing plants. A planned meeting with the director-general of the Department of Environmental Affairs has been delayed ‘due to the forthcoming election’.

SA Carbon Tax plan softened

SA Treasury’s planning carbon tax was delayed, and its provisions softened after lobbying by Business Unity SA and affiliated employer organisations. CAIA contributed to a submission on how the carbon tax design can be linked to the development of desired emission reduction outcomes.

USA frackers meet SA policy-makers

USA stakeholders in hydro-fracking at home and in Africa, met in SA at an event named ‘Africa Unconventional Gas Environmental and Regulatory Workshop’ in February in Pretoria.

South Africa intends to allow fracking in defined areas. A bilateral engagement between USA representatives and the South African Department of Water Affairs and other departments was held the day before the open meeting including NGOs and industry.

A formal list of stakeholder concerns includes;
• transparency and community engagement
• environmental protection
• water supply management
• waste management (cuttings / flow back)
• infrastructure / long-term management
• financial provisions (bonds / guarantees)
• compliance and enforcement (capacity / skills / training)
• information management and sharing
• research to understand the resource.

The Department of Environmental Affairs may undertake a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) and may include this list during their investigations.

Notice 86 of 2013: National Water Act – Proposed declaration of the exploration for and or production of onshore unconventional oil or gas resources and any activities incidental thereto including but not limited to hydraulic fracturing as a controlled activity.

Notice 71 of 2014: Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act – Restriction in terms of section 49(1) of the Mineral and Petroleum Development Resources Act, 2002 (Act 28 of 2002) on new applications for reconnaissance permits, technical co-operation permits, exploration and production rights in terms of sections 74, 76, 79 and 83 of the Act.

Notice 72 of 2014: Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act – Invitation for representations on a proposed restriction in terms of section 49(1) of the Mineral and Petroleum Development Resources Act, 2002 (Act 28 of 2002) on the granting of reconnaissance permits, technical co-operation permits, exploration and production rights in terms of sec¬tions 74, 76, 79 and 83 of the Act.

Gas Amendment Bill

The Gas Amendment Bill is currently being negotiated in Nedlac by Business Unity SA and others. Government claims that the Bill would address the lack of private sector investment in gas infrastructure, the Bill in fact increases state intervention in gas and undermines the independence of the regulator, said CAIA.

Government notices of March 2014

Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries GN 46 under Marketing of Agricultural Products Act; Marketing of Agricultural Products: Amendment

DAFF GN 54 under Fertilizers, Farm Feeds, Agricultural Remedies and Stock Remedies; Regulations relating to the Registration of Fertilizers, Farm Feeds, Agricultural Remedies, Stock Remedies, Sterilizing Plants and Pest Control Operators, Appeals and Imports: Proposed Amendment

Mineral Resources GN 71 under Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act; Restriction in terms of section 49(1) of the Mineral and Petroleum Development Resources Act, 2002 (Act 28 of 2002) on new applications for reconnaissance permits, technical co-operation permits, exploration and production rights in terms of sections 74, 76, 79 and 83 of the Act.

Mineral Resources GN 72 under Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act; Invitation for representations on a proposed restriction in terms of section 49(1) of the Mineral and Petroleum Development Resources Act, 2002 (Act 28 of 2002) on the granting of reconnaissance permits, technical co-operation permits, exploration and production rights in terms of sections 74, 76, 79 and 83 of the Act.

Agriculture, Forestry & Fisheries GN 54 under Fertilizers, Farm Feeds, Agricultural Remedies and Stock Remedies Act; Regulations relating to the Registration of Fertilizers, Farm Feeds, Agricultural Remedies, Stock Remedies, Sterilizing Plants and Pest Control Operators, Appeals and Imports: Proposed Amendment.

Environmental Affairs GN 73 under National Environmental Management: Biodiversity Act; Draft amendment regulations on bio-prospecting, access and benefit-sharing.

Environmental Affairs GN 141 under National Environmental Management Act; Fees for the consideration and processing of applications for environmental authorisations and amendments thereto.

Environmental Affairs GN 142 under National Environmental Management Act; Fee structure for consideration and processing of waste management licenses transfer and renewal thereof.

Environmental Affairs GN 142 under National Environmental Management Act; Draft National Exemption Regulations.

NEMA implementation continues

National Environmental Management Act implementation measures include;

•    National standards for the extraction, flaring or recovery of landfill gas
•    Amendment to Environmental Impact Assessment Regulations Listing Notice 1
•    Amendment to Environmental Impact.

Assessment Regulations Listing Notice 2 National Environmental Management: Air Quality Act
•    Amendment of the National Framework for Air Quality Management in the Republic of South Africa
•    Controlled emitters, which result in atmospheric emissions, which through ambient concentrations, bioaccumulation and deposition or in any other way present a threat to health or the environment
•    List of activities which result in atmospheric emissions which have or may have a significant detrimental effect on the environment, including health, social conditions, economic conditions, ecological conditions or cultural heritage.

Marine environment law

Notice 1043 of 2013: Intention to establish guidelines for the preparation of environmental implementation plans and environmental management plans, by competent authorities and their activities.

Ratification of the Convention on Facilitation of International Maritime Traffic 1965, as amended.

Ratification of International Convention on Liability and Compensation for Damage in Connection with Carriage of Hazardous and Noxious Substances by Sea of 2010.

•    Sources; PMG. CAIA. RC. SABS.
•    SA health and safety law updates are posted separately on Sheqafrica.com

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One thought on “Environment law 2014 March update

  1. I’m not the highest qualified, but from the school of common sense, are we becoming penny wise and pound foolish when looking at the bigger picture?

    1. Fr@k!ng – Oil/money for water/land? Is this a conflict of interests?
    Do we fail to regulate (known failure in US) health/environmental hazards because we haven’t bumped our heads yet, while targeting source emissions at already established and working businesses on the other hand?

    2. Do we just accept the UN mandate on Climate Change (and other summits) without examining the science of “man made” effect for ourselves at the detriment of our economy? While the Sun is heating all the planets in our solar system (ice caps melting on mars), we just buy into the theory of anthropological climate change – it kills me.

    On another topic, the fact that we allow GMO food (licensed by a handful of US companies and banned in France) in this country when it damages economy and food security (see India) and bio-diversity.

    So with these proposed amendments, are we making real sustainable changes to the public, business and government that has a real “win-win” effect to the economy, health and environment of the people living in it?

    I think that it must be mandated that the science behind proposed amendments should be available online/gazetted for scrutineer by public/professionals.
    I find that the government is getting away with too many Nkandla’s and e-tols.

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