Environmental Impact Assessment
Composition of the expert committees for EIA :
The Committees will consist of experts in the following sectors:
Eco-system management, Air/water pollution control, Water resource management, Flora/fauna conservation and management, Land use planning, Social Sciences/Rehabilitation, Project appraisal, Ecology, Environmental Health, Subject Area Specialists
It also consists of Representatives of NGOs/persons concerned with environmental issues
- The Chairman will be an outstanding and experienced ecologist or environmentalist or technical professional with wide managerial experience in the relevant development.
- The representative of Impact Assessment Agency will act as a Member-Secretary.
- Chairman and members will serve in their individual capacities except those specifically nominated as representatives.
- The membership of a committee shall not exceed 15 members.
Environmental Appraisal Procedure in India :
- An Appraisal Committee constituted by the Ministry of Environment and Forests to first scrutinize a project based on the data presented by the project authorities.
- If necessary, the Ministry of Environment and Forests may also hold consultations with the investors and experts on specific issues as and when necessary.
- After considering all the facets of a project, environmental clearance is accorded subject to implementation of the stipulated environmental safeguards.
- In case of projects where the project proponents have submitted complete information, a decision is taken within 90 days.
- The six regional offices of the Ministry functioning at Shillong, Bhubaneshwar, Chandigarh, Bangalore, Lucknow andBhopal undertake monitoring of cleared projects.
- The primary objectives of this procedure is to ensure adequacy of the suggested safeguards and also to undertake mid-course corrections if required.
- Sometimes one or more natural resources becomes limiting resource in a given region and that restrict the scopes of development projects.
EIA of Coasts :
- Coastal Zone Management Plans(CZMPs) are prepared by coastal states or Union Territories as per rules set by CRZ notification 1991.
- CZMPs are prepared based on identification and categorization of coastal areas for different activities and then submitted to the MoEF for approval.
- The ministry then forms a task force for examining their plans.
Environmental Clearance/Rejection Letter
Single window clearance
Environmental clearance + Forestry clearance.
- When a project requires both environmental clearance as well as approval under the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980, proposals for both are required to be given simultaneously to the concerned divisions of the Ministry.
- The processing is done simultaneously for clearance or rejection. If the project does not involve diversion of forestland, the case is processed only for environmental clearance.
- Once all the requisite documents and data from the project authorities are received and public hearings (where required) have been held, assessment and evaluation of the project from the environment angle is completed within 90 daysand the decision of the ministry shall be conveyed within 30 days thereafter [120 days for final decision].
Post project monitoring
- Whenever a project is given environment clearance, a set of conditions are stipulated by the Appraisal Committee on a case to case basis, which have to be complied with by the project proponent.
- The project authorities are required to submit a half-yearly compliance report to the Ministry about the compliance of conditions stipulated.
- Cases of non-compliance of the recommendations and conditions by cleared projects/ units are brought to the notice of the Ministry, which may then initiate action against the project authorities.
The Main Participants of EIA
EIA applies to public and private sections. The six main players are:
- Those who propose the project
- The environmental consultant who prepare EIA on behalf of project proponent.
- Pollution Control Board (State or National).
- Public has the right to express their opinion.
- The Impact Assessment Agency.
- Regional center of the Ministry of Environment and Forest.
Salient Features of 2006 Amendment to EIA Notification
- Environment Impact Assessment Notification of 2006 has decentralizedthe environmental clearance projects by categorizing the developmental projects in two categories, i.e.,
- Category A (national level appraisal) and
- Category B (state level appraisal).
- ‘Category A’ projects are appraised at national level by Impact Assessment Agency (IAA) and the Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC) and Category B projects are apprised at state level.
- State Level Environment Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA) and State Level Expert Appraisal Committee (SEAC) are constituted to provide clearance to Category B process.
After 2006 Amendment the EIA cycle comprises of four stages
- Public hearing
Category A projects require mandatory environmental clearance and thus they do not undergo the screening process.
Category B projects undergoes screening process and they are classified into two types.
- Category B, projects (Mandatory requires EIA).
- Category B2 projects (Do not require EIA).
Thus Category A projects and Category B, projects undergo the complete EIA process whereas Category B2 projects are excluded from complete EIA process.
Procedure for Public Hearing
Notice of Public Hearing
- Whoever applies for environmental clearance of projects, should request the concerned State Pollution Control Board to initiate a public hearing.
- The State Pollution Control Board issues a notice for environmental public hearing which will be published in at least two newspapers widely circulated in the region around the project, one of which will be in the vernacular language of the locality concerned.
- State Pollution Control Board mentions the date, time and place of public hearing.
- Suggestions, views, comments and objections of the public will be invited within thirty days from the date of publication of the notification.
- All persons including the residents, environmental groups and others located at the project site/sites of displacement/sites likely to be affected can participate in the public hearing. They can also make oral/written suggestions to the State Pollution Control Board.
Composition of public hearing panel
The composition of Public Hearing Panel may consist of the following,:
- Representative of State Pollution Control Board;
- District Collector or his nominee;
- Representative of State Government dealing with the subject;
- Representative of Department of the State Government dealing with Environment;
- Not more than three representatives of the local bodies such as Municipalities or panchayats;
- Not more than three senior citizens of the area nominated by the District Collector.