BUSHFIRE SURVIVORS LAUNCH LEGAL ACTION AGAINST EPA
BUSHFIRE SURVIVORS HAVE LAUNCHED a legal challenge today seeking to compel the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) to act on climate change to protect communities from catastrophic fires.
The case has been launched by the Environmental Defenders Office on behalf of Bushfire Survivors for Climate Action, a group of everyday Australians who have lost their homes to bushfires or been directly affected by worsening bushfire danger.
David Morris, CEO of the Environmental Defenders Office (EDO), said the case sought to compel the EPA, which does not currently have a climate change policy, to use its powers to keep communities safe from increasingly severe climate impacts.
“Our clients have experienced the trauma of losing their communities, livelihoods and homes to bushfires. “Climate change is driving more frequent, severe bushfires in Australia, putting communities in danger,” he said.
“Our client will argue that the EPA has a duty to use its existing powers to ensure local protection for the NSW community by regulating greenhouse gas emissions to levels consistent with a safe climate and global warming of 1.5°C or below.”
Jo Dodds, chair of Bushfire Survivors for Climate Action and a survivor of the 2018 Tathra fires, said that NSW communities faced devastating fire danger over summer, and urgently need state authorities to develop meaningful climate policies.
“As bushfire survivors we’ve experienced the devastating loss and trauma of catastrophic fires. We want to ensure that other communities don’t go through this, and we don’t want to go through it ourselves again – and that means urgently tackling climate change.”
“We know climate change, driven by the burning of coal, oil, and gas, is fuelling more severe and frequent bushfires – and yet the NSW EPA, the lead agency charged with environmental protection, doesn’t even have a climate change policy.”
“We have the right to feel safe in our homes. We need the EPA to step up and protect communities from worsening bushfires. Our Federal leaders have failed to act to keep us safe – it’s time for state authorities to lead the way.”