Indonesia accused of putting profit ahead of the environment with new bill – by Gayatri Suroyo and Ed Davies (Reuters U.S. – February 13, 2020)

JAKARTA (Reuters) – Indonesia’s plans to relax environmental rules to encourage investment have drawn criticism from activists who say the government is putting profit ahead of protecting the archipelago’s rich natural surroundings.

The “Job Creation” bill, submitted to parliament on Wednesday, aims to open up industries and includes proposals to relax the need for companies to conduct environmental studies and eases rules on coal mining.

It is one of President Joko Widodo’s so-called “omnibus laws”, which aim to change scores of existing laws to cut red tape and attract investment into Southeast Asia’s largest economy.

Types of businesses that require an environmental study, known as an AMDAL, will no longer be specified and subject to separate, lower level regulation.

Currently, companies that exploit natural resources must conduct an AMDAL, which is intended to assess the impact of the investment on the environment and local community.

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