The Forest Scribe

Omnibus Law Threatens to Weaken Environmental Protection

Illustration of what Omnibus Law impact
Photo: Maher Najm from Flickr

Revisions planned in the Draft Omnibus Law on Job Creation that has been submitted by the government to the legislative council has the potential to weaken environmental protection, a senior lecturer at the Forestry Faculty of the Bogor Institute of Agriculture said.

“I identified ten revisions of articles in Law Number 23 of 2009 on Environmental Protection and Management which have the potentials to weaken it,” Hariadi Kartodiharjo who teaches Forestry Policies at IPB said in an article uploaded by ForestDigest.com on Tuesday (25/2). He also emphasized that the identification was purely based on his own interpretation of the text of the draft Omnibus Law.

He said that a revision of article 1, point 22, would no longer make two documents, the Environmental Management Efforts (UKL) and the Environmental Monitoring Efforts (UPL), no longer necessary in the process to issue or not issue an operational business permit. The two documents are usually required for projects which do not require a full Environmental Impact Analysis (AMDAL).

A requirement for industries to obtain environmental permits as stipulated in Article 1 point 35, would also be dropped and replaced by a document containing the agreement of the industry’s environment. Nine business criteria which carry important impacts were also dropped from the same article and point, Kartodiharjo pointed out.

A revision of Article 24, would make it possible for the government to conduct an environmental feasibility test based on an AMDAL document in determining whether an industry could be issued with a business operating permit. The Article currently requires the government to appoint a certified institution or expert to conduct the environmental analysis and although the revision did not drop this stipulation, it provided the government with the power to conduct the analysis itself.

A revision of Article 26, if the Draft Omnibus Law was passed, would no longer require environmental observers and or the affected communities to take part in the making of AMDAL documents. Only the impacted communities would be allowed to take part in the process under the revision, Kartodiharjo said.

Also read: WALHI Rejects Draft Omnibus Law, Wants Govt to Comply With Higher 2001 Resolution

The Omnibus Law would also eliminate Articles 29, 30 and 32 on the AMDAL Assessment Commission. The government could now directly issue a business operating permit based on a mere statement from the corporation that it would manage the environment well. The three Articles currently demand that the company abide by the UKL-UPL standards.

An affirmation that environmental feasibility of any project should be able to be easily accessible to the public, as stipulated in Artile 39, would also be dropped under the revision.

Revisions of Chapter XII, Article 72 up to and including 75, according to the faculty lecturer, would mean that the government would be fully authorized to execute supervision and deicide on administrative sanctions. A revision of Article 76 also dropped the list of types of administrative sanctions while implementing government regulations would only contain the procedures to mete the sanctions.

“There will be no loopholes or entry door for citizens to take other institutions which damaged the environment to court as stipulated in Article 93 of the Law on Environmental Protection and Management as a consequence of the elimination of an environmental permit,” Kartodiharjo said in the article.

The Draft Omnibus Law ion Job Creation is one of five draft omnibus laws planned by the government to revise scores of laws and regulations to boost ease of investment in Indonesia.

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