Streamlining and Strengthening the Environmental Impact Assessment Process

Submissions to the High Level Committee constituted to review various environment Acts

Summary: Key recommendations include consolidating and re-enacting executive orders on the environment impact assessment process, providing a principled basis for determining which projects require environmental clearances, and introducing strategic environment impact assessment.

This Note responds to the call for public comments issued by the High-Level Committee (the ‘HLC’) constituted by the Ministry of Environment and Forests (the ‘MoEF’) to review the following environment acts- the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986, the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980, the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974, the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981, and the Indian Forest Act, 1927.

The terms of reference of the HLC are very broad, and it is beyond the scope of this Note to undertake a detailed analysis of the working of all the abovementioned statutes. Instead, this Note makes a focused set of recommendations on reforming the Environmental Impact Assessment (the ‘EIA’) process in India.