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Title: The quality of Portuguese Environmental Impact Studies: The case of small hydropower projects

Abstract

In most Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) systems environmental authorities can stop an EIA process by refusing the respective EIA Report, on the grounds of technical or methodological insufficiencies identified in the review procedure. However, often times, it cannot be taken for granted that, once an EIA Report is formally accepted, as part of an EIA process, its quality standard is, consistently, of a satisfactory level. This paper summarises the results of a one-year research project aimed at assessing the quality of EIA studies carried out for small hydropower plants in Portugal. An extensive survey was carried out to analyse all EIA Reports that were the basis of successful EIA processes involving this kind of small scale projects, under the old and the new national EIA legislation, that is, over the last two decades. Often times unnoticeable to the general public and the media, located in isolated areas upstream secondary rivers, these projects are likely to generate some significant environmental impacts, in particular on the aesthetics value and character of local landscapes and on pristine ecological habitats. And yet, they are usually regarded as environmental friendly projects designed to produce emission free energy. The design of the evaluation criteria benefited frommore » the literature review on similar research projects carried out in other EU countries. The evaluation exercise revealed a number of technical and methodological weaknesses in a significant percentage of cases. A set of simple and clear cut recommendations is proposed twofold: to improve the current standard of EIA practice and to strengthen the role of the so called EIA Commissions, at the crucial review stage of the EIA process.« less

Authors:
 [1];  [2];  [3]
  1. CITTA - Research Centre for Territory, Transports and Environment, University of Oporto, Faculty of Engineering, Rua Roberto Frias, 4200-465 Oporto (Portugal). E-mail: pcpinho@fe.up.pt
  2. CEHRA - Centre for Hydraulics, Environment and Water Resources, University of Oporto, Faculty of Engineering, Rua Roberto Frias, 4200-465 Oporto (Portugal). E-mail: rmaia@fe.up.pt
  3. CITTA - Research Centre for Territory, Transports and Environment, University of Oporto, Faculty of Engineering, Rua Roberto Frias, 4200-465 Oporto (Portugal). E-mail: anamonterroso@yahoo.com
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
20972041
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Environmental Impact Assessment Review; Journal Volume: 27; Journal Issue: 3; Other Information: DOI: 10.1016/j.eiar.2006.10.005; PII: S0195-9255(06)00127-2; Copyright (c) 2006 Elsevier Science B.V., Amsterdam, The Netherlands, All rights reserved; Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
13 HYDRO ENERGY; ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT STATEMENTS; ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS; ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION; HYDROELECTRIC POWER; HYDROELECTRIC POWER PLANTS; REVIEWS

Citation Formats

Pinho, Paulo, Maia, Rodrigo, and Monterroso, Ana. The quality of Portuguese Environmental Impact Studies: The case of small hydropower projects. United States: N. p., 2007. Web. doi:10.1016/j.eiar.2006.10.005.
Pinho, Paulo, Maia, Rodrigo, & Monterroso, Ana. The quality of Portuguese Environmental Impact Studies: The case of small hydropower projects. United States. doi:10.1016/j.eiar.2006.10.005.
Pinho, Paulo, Maia, Rodrigo, and Monterroso, Ana. Sun . "The quality of Portuguese Environmental Impact Studies: The case of small hydropower projects". United States. doi:10.1016/j.eiar.2006.10.005.
@article{osti_20972041,
title = {The quality of Portuguese Environmental Impact Studies: The case of small hydropower projects},
author = {Pinho, Paulo and Maia, Rodrigo and Monterroso, Ana},
abstractNote = {In most Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) systems environmental authorities can stop an EIA process by refusing the respective EIA Report, on the grounds of technical or methodological insufficiencies identified in the review procedure. However, often times, it cannot be taken for granted that, once an EIA Report is formally accepted, as part of an EIA process, its quality standard is, consistently, of a satisfactory level. This paper summarises the results of a one-year research project aimed at assessing the quality of EIA studies carried out for small hydropower plants in Portugal. An extensive survey was carried out to analyse all EIA Reports that were the basis of successful EIA processes involving this kind of small scale projects, under the old and the new national EIA legislation, that is, over the last two decades. Often times unnoticeable to the general public and the media, located in isolated areas upstream secondary rivers, these projects are likely to generate some significant environmental impacts, in particular on the aesthetics value and character of local landscapes and on pristine ecological habitats. And yet, they are usually regarded as environmental friendly projects designed to produce emission free energy. The design of the evaluation criteria benefited from the literature review on similar research projects carried out in other EU countries. The evaluation exercise revealed a number of technical and methodological weaknesses in a significant percentage of cases. A set of simple and clear cut recommendations is proposed twofold: to improve the current standard of EIA practice and to strengthen the role of the so called EIA Commissions, at the crucial review stage of the EIA process.},
doi = {10.1016/j.eiar.2006.10.005},
journal = {Environmental Impact Assessment Review},
number = 3,
volume = 27,
place = {United States},
year = {Sun Apr 15 00:00:00 EDT 2007},
month = {Sun Apr 15 00:00:00 EDT 2007}
}