Research Handbook on International Environmental Law
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Research Handbook on International Environmental Law

Edited by Malgosia Fitzmaurice, David M. Ong and Panos Merkouris

This wide-ranging and comprehensive Handbook examines recent developments in international environmental law (IEL) and the crossover effects of this expansion on other areas of international law, such as trade law and the law of the sea.
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Chapter 11: Environmental Impact Assessment

Olufemi Elias


* Olufemi Elias Introduction Environmental impact assessment (EIA) has emerged as an essential element of a preventive approach to environmental protection and of sustainable development, and has accordingly received considerable attention in recent years (see Wathern (ed.), 1991; Klein-Chesivoir, 1990: 517; Macrory, 1990; Robinson, 1992: 591; Stewart, 1993: 10; Yeater and Kurukulasuriya, 1995; Okowa, 1996: 275; Petts (ed.), 1999; Gray, 2000: 83; Fitzmaurice, 2001: 280–85, Birnie and Boyle, 2002: 130–35; Knox, 2002: 291; Sands, 2003: 799–825; Knox, 2003: 153; Cassar and Bruch, 2003: 169; Wood, 2005; Glasson et al., 2005; Craik, 2007; Bastmeijer and Koivurova, 2008; Craik, 2008). It is ‘a procedure for evaluating the likely impact of a proposed activity on the environment’ (Convention on Environmental Impact Assessment in a Transboundary Context, 1991: Art. 1(v)),1 which, at both the domestic and international levels, enables, and even requires, decision-makers to integrate environmental considerations into socio-economic planning. It provides decision-makers with information as to the possible environmental effects of a proposed activity before that activity takes place, thereby allowing for an informed decision as to whether that activity should be allowed to proceed, whether further measures are required before such authorisation is granted, or whether other alternatives are preferable. Contemporary EIA also seeks to ensure that potentially affected persons are involved in the decision-making process. EIA itself is a procedure, and of itself neither compels a particular result nor imposes substantive environmental standards. Following the adoption of EIA in the United States National Environmental Policy Act (1969)...

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