Legal Remedies for Transboundary Pollution
New Horizons in Environmental and Energy Law series
Edited by Michael Faure and Song Ying
Chapter 8: A New Look at Environmental Impact Assessments: Using Customary Law to Prevent Domestic and Transboundary Environmental Damage
Jack Jacobs 1 INTRODUCTION Recently, a major development project was planned in northern Israel in an ecologically sensitive area. In light of the project’s impact on the environment, oﬃcials from Israel’s Ministry of Environmental Protection requested that the regional planning and building committee require the preparation of an environmental impact assessment (EIA) prior to construction. The committee rejected the Ministry’s requests, arguing that the national EIA regulations allowed the committee discretion on this issue and therefore they had no absolute obligation to prepare an EIA.1 Israel’s EIA regulations are the ﬁrst legislative tool used to examine the legality of a development project. Although the law is relatively comprehensive, it only requires an EIA for major infrastructure projects (e.g. dams, power plants and highways). As a result, smaller-scale projects slip through discretionary cracks.2 So, in an eﬀort to encourage project planners to 1 Israel Planning and Building Regulations (Environmental Impact Statements), 1982. 2 Ibid. The Israeli EIA regulations state, ‘Authority to require statement submission 3. In addition to the provisions of regulation 2, a representative of a minister in a planning agency or a planning agency presented with a scheme whose implementation may, in its opinion, have a signiﬁcant impact upon environmental quality, may require the submitter of the scheme to prepare a statement and to submit it to the planning agency in addition to the scheme documentation submitted; a requirement for submission of a statement may be made at any stage of consideration of the scheme prior...
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