New Indonesian Law Authorizes Environment Ministry to Fine, Shut Down Polluting Corporations

borneo logging photo

But will logging and agriculture be included? Photo: Rob and Stephanie Levy via flickr.

When and how the following actually gets enforced remains to be seen, but it would be really cool if it did: Reuters reports that Indonesia's parliament has passed a new law which grants its Environment Ministry to power to revoke the business licenses of companies deemed to be polluters: From what Reuters has seen, the new law requires companies whose activities potential impact the environment (read: manufacturing, mining, paper mills, construction) to obtain a specific environmental license to operate. If the company breaches environmental laws that license can be revoked.

Additionally, anyone found to be deliberately pollute the environment faces 10 years in jail and up a $1 million fine. Fines are also stipulated for local and central government officials who issue environmental permits without proper review.

Will Palm Oil Companies Be Included?
That's the big broad stroke (the good part), but the devil really is in the details on this one. What I'm specifically thinking of is whether activities with severely negative environmental impact when done at the expense of forested areas -- namely agriculture and oil palm cultivation -- will be held accountable. And then there's the question of actual enforcement: Will multinational companies be able to use financial influence to bypass regulations?

At least on paper though, from the bit we know so far, it is a step in the right direction.

via: Reuters
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