Change of Regulations on Environmental Impact Assessment

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CHANGE OF REGULATIONS ON ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT ASSESSMENT

As environmental issues like global warming, environmental pollution and climate change increase gradually in our World, “sustainable development” (development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own need) shall be a priority for every country. Even if scientifically a tight control and more ecological regulations are expected, regulations on Environment remain to be a sensitive area for the legislators.

Legislators, business organizations and citizens shall act with a joint effort in consideration of long term impacts. However, in our country where economic priority dominates, environmental regulations are perceived as an obstacle; so it would be difficult to create awareness.

The Ministry of Environment and Urbanization has amended after a period of one year for the 17th time the Regulations on Environmental impact assessment (EIA) to comply with EU directive on EIA. The new regulations are published in the Official Gazette on 25.11.2014 with the publication number 29186.

The new legislation raised lots of reactions. On the one hand, organizations like the Chamber of environmental engineers, non-governmental organizations reflected their opposition, on the other hand the Ministry of Environment and Urbanization made a statement concerning the amendments.

For most of the people, exemptions are extended especially for projects concerning shopping centers, golf installations, mass housing projects; railway projects less than 100 km, white goods painting, removal of salt and conversion of forest areas. However the Ministry made a statement and expressed that the shopping center projects with mass housing projects will be evaluated under the attachment 1 and 2 of the new regulations. “The exemption of shopping centers projects is out of question. These presentation projects will be submitted to the City directorates of the Ministry to be evaluated.”
In this scope, the impact assessment will be realized without getting the opinions of associations, general directorate of highways and non-governmental organizations. According to experts on environmental issues, this amendment means that the obstacles for the realization of these projects are removed.

Another aspect debated is the 3rd provisional article of the environmental law annulled by the Constitutional Court. This article was extending the exemptions “for projects that planning phases ended or business or production started and the investment dated before 23 June 1997”. Despite the decision of annulment, ignoring the rule of law principle this article is included in the new legislation.

Environmental impact assessment is an important process and tool. EIA is a planning… According to this planning, projects are evaluated and a decision is held on whether they can be realized or not. Otherwise, incorrect projects would harm people health and national economy. Then, not only people and environment are negatively affected because of that, investors are also affected in long term.

Developed countries with a contributor/participant understanding, are discussing how to improve EIA processes; at the same time backward countries are trying unconsciously to create exemptions for EIA without taking into consideration democracy and general interest.

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