Palmer rules out giving environmental powers to states

Daniel BurdonKEY power broker Clive Palmer has ruled out the Palmer United Party backing the Abbott government's plans to hand over environmental assessments to state governments.

Mr Palmer confirmed he would not, at present, support the government's legislation that passed the House of Representatives on Monday.

The new laws officially will put in place deals reached with all state governments for states to take over assessment and approvals of mines and similar large developments that could threaten sensitive environments.

It was subject to lengthy debate in the Senate on Monday, but has not yet passed, after other government business pushed the proposed laws off Tuesday's sittings agenda.

Queensland Greens Senator Larissa Waters had already urged crossbenchers not to back the new laws, apparently gaining Independent Senator Nick Xenophon's support.

"National environment laws have been in place for more than 30 years to protect our most precious places, like our Great Barrier Reef and the Kimberley, and our most vulnerable species, like koalas and bilbies," she said.

However, Mr Palmer on Tuesday would not go into detail with reporters in Canberra about the PUP's official position, confirming only he would not support the legislation in its current form.