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Title: Environmental Impact Assessment in the marine environment: A comparison of legal frameworks

Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is a well-established practice in most developed countries, even though its application to projects in the marine environment is at a much earlier stage of development. We use the Portuguese example to address marine EIA legislation since its exclusive economic zone (EEZ) is currently the third largest in the European Union and its EIA legislation does not require various offshore activities with potentially negative environmental impacts to undergo EIA before being licensed. This paper aims to determine whether three types of projects implemented within Portuguese maritime zones – artificial reefs using sunken ships, hydrocarbon prospecting and wave-energy generation – would benefit from application of an appropriately designed EIA. We have conducted a structured review of EIA legal provisions from seven other countries, and considered whether a full EIA was required for each project type. Consequently, 12 Environmental Impact Statements (EIS) have been compared to identify patterns of (dis)similarity across countries and project types. Additionally, we identified key descriptors and predicted impacts for each project type referred to in their EIS. The main conclusion is that ultimately all three projects would benefit from mandatory EIA in Portugal. This paper is relevant for countries with large maritime areasmore » and underdeveloped marine EIA legislation, helping improve international policy-making relating to these three types of marine projects. - Highlights: • EIA is not mandatory for some project types developed in Portuguese maritime zones. • Artificial reefs, oil&gas prospecting and wave-energy licensing differ in 8 countries. • EIA should be mandatory in Portugal for artificial reefs and oil&gas prospecting. • However, an AEInc approach is enough for wave-energy projects in Portugal. • Findings could be extended to other EU countries with extensive maritime zones.« less
Authors:
 [1] ;  [2] ;  [3] ;  [4] ;  [2] ;  [5]
  1. Institute for Environmental Studies, VU University Amsterdam, De Boelelaan 1087, 1081 HV Amsterdam (Netherlands)
  2. (Portugal)
  3. Liga para a Protecção da Natureza, 1500-124 Lisboa (Portugal)
  4. Laboratório de Ecologia Isotópica — CENA, Universidade de São Paulo, Caixa Postal 96, 13416-000 Piracicaba, SP (Brazil)
  5. MARE — Marine and Environmental Sciences Centre, Faculdade de Ciências, Universidade de Lisboa, 1749-016 Lisboa (Portugal)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22479772
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Environmental Impact Assessment Review; Journal Volume: 55; Other Information: Copyright (c) 2015 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:
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; COMPARATIVE EVALUATIONS; DESIGN; DEVELOPED COUNTRIES; ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT STATEMENTS; ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS; ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY; EUROPEAN UNION; HYDROCARBONS; LEGAL ASPECTS; LEGISLATION; PORTUGAL; REEFS; REVIEWS; SHIPS