THE federal government is considering imposing tougher environmental rules over national parks and shale gas and coal-seam gas projects.
Federal cabinet considered on Monday the Greens' amendments to national environment laws to give landholders a right of veto over gas projects and prevent a future Coalition government from delegating federal approval powers to states.
Environment Minister Tony Burke has also flagged extending federal environmental oversight to national parks.
The moves have sparked a rearguard action by the Business Council of Australia and the gas industry to prevent the measures going ahead.
Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association (APPEA) chief executive David Byers said the Greens' amendments were bad policy.
He urged the government to reject the amendments and said to accept such changes "sacrificed any semblance of economic policy on the altar of [the] Greens' political preferences".
Business Council of Australia (BCA) chief executive Jennifer Westacott said she had written to cabinet members urging them to adhere to "proper law-making process".
"The government would be taking this action without any consultation or any analysis of the impact of these amendments on the economy, on regional communities or, for that matter, on the environment," she said.
On Sunday, Mr Burke suggested he would change federal law to stop certain activities in national parks.
"Reintroducing logging, mining, grazing, forestry or large-scale land clearing is a clear backwards step," he said.
"I believe the recent reversal from John Howard's approach to what State and federal Liberals are now doing is appalling vandalism and wrong."
NSW independent Tony Windsor, who wants to ensure the passage before the election of a "water trigger" for coal-seam gas, opposes more changes.
He said further changes would need to return to the House of Representatives.
"I'd hate to see it blow up, because of some game playing, legitimate as those concerns may be," he said.
Greens senator Larissa Waters has indicated she will move changes to include national parks as a matter of "national environmental significance" and prevent delegation of federal approval powers to states.
"If Labor doesn't want to Abbott-proof the legislation, I struggle to work out what's going on in their head."
Mr Burke said there were various views about "when the federal government should intervene and what the legal framework should be".
In a recent draft report, the Productivity Commission said restrictions on access to national parks should be "proportionate" to the likely level of impact on environmental and heritage values.
The BCA said the government should wait for the final Productivity Commission report.