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Palm oil banned in Austenasia

Deforestation in Riau, Indonesia to make way for palm oil plantations.

Austenasia has become the first government in the world to ban the importation and trade of palm oil.

Palm oil is a vegetable oil which is produced in a way which is extremely damaging to the environment, with mass deforestation leading to huge amounts of carbon dioxide being released into the atmosphere and to the loss of precious habitat for critically endangered species such as the Sumatran rhinoceros and orangutan.

Under new legislation passed this morning, the intentional importation or trade of palm oil is now punishable by a fine of between £5 and £15. An Imperial Decree passed shortly afterwards made an exception for importing palm oil to be used for medical reasons, but this can only be done with the permission of the Representative of one’s Town.

Palm oil is in many products, such as several brands of peanut butter. However, because only the intentional importation and trade of palm oil is banned, negligent importation and trade of products containing it (e.g., not checking ingredient labels) would not be prosecuted. The main aim of this legislation is to raise awareness of the environmental damage caused by the production of the oil.

The ban only applies to Austenasian Towns and Territories, with Crown Dependencies free to choose whether or not to implement it. Palm oil has already been banned in the Crown Dependency of New Richmond since last year.

The Palm Act 2014 was passed by three votes to two in the House of Representatives after having been written and proposed by newly appointed Minister for the Environment, Lord Hengest Crannis, yesterday evening. Lord Hengest has written a message concerning the reasons behind the ban, which can be read here.