Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
Abstract This paper examines the spread and development of ‘environmental impact assessment’ (EIA) since the enactment of the U.S. Environmental Policy Act on January 1, 1970, which established for the first time under any jurisdiction the formal requirement that an EIA be made and that an ‘environmental impact statement’ (EIS) be filed prior to implementation of certain major development projects. The paper is divided into three parts. In the first part, we briefly review the forms of EIA introduced in the western industrial countries and contrast these with developments in the socialist countries of Eastern Europe, and in the Third World. The approaches to EIA adopted by five countries — the United States, Australia, Canada, the Federal Republic of Germany, and the Soviet Union — are used to illustrate the types of national approaches that have been followed. In the second part of the paper, we use some questions raised by impact assessments as codified in legislation or regulations at the national level to highlight some of the limitations of impact assessment. Finally, we turn to international impact assessments and describe the modest progress made to date. Key impediments to the development of appropriate conceptual and institutional frameworks and methodologies for international EIAs are noted. In conclusion, we offer some suggestions about needed actions at both the national and international levels.
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