Tuesday, 8 September 2009

House endorses environment bill

The Jakarta Post , Jakarta | Tue, 09/08/2009

Polluters and corporations known for business practices unfriendly to the environment will have to pay extra caution as the House of Representatives passed, Tuesday, a stringent environmental bill into law.

One of the articles of the newly passed law provides civil investigators the authority to arrest those accused of endangering the environment.

"We have discussed the article with the police. So, there is no need to worry about possible misunderstandings in the field between the police and environmental civil investigators," State Minister for the Environment, Rachmat Witoelar said after the House’s plenary session.

He said that the bill was triggered by the fact that around 40 percent of the country's forests have been severely damaged.

The bill also stipulates that companies are obliged to pay environment tax.

Reports had been rife that President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s Democratic Party faction objected to the tax, saying that corporate responsibility for environmental protection was voluntary not obligatory.

However, Democratic Party faction chairman Syarief Hassan dismissed the reports.

"This bill was sponsored by the government. As a party that supports the government, we throw our weight behind the government’s policy," he said. (hdt)