The New Zealand EIA System

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The New Zealand EIA System New Zealand introduced its Environmental Protection and Enhancement procedures, partially based on the Canadian EIA procedure, in 1974 by means of a cabinet minute. At present, EIA in New Zealand is, in principle, almost comprehensive and flexible, in that it applies to all projects and, in addition, to policies and plans prepared under the Resources Management Act provisions. Resulting from a revolution in environmental management, the Resource Management Act, in New
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  The New Zealand EIA System New Zealand introduced its Environmental Protection and Enhancementprocedures, partially based on the Canadian EIA procedure, in 1974 bymeans of a cabinet minute. At present, EIA in New Zealand is, in principle,almost comprehensive and flexible, in that it applies to all projects and, inaddition, to policies and plans prepared under the Resources ManagementAct provisions.Resulting from a revolution in environmental management, the ResourceManagement Act, in New Zealand, has replaced numerous previous Acts,including the town and Country Planning Act 1977, the Clean Air Act 1972and the Water and Soil Conservation Act 1967. The Resource ManagementAct has introduced environmental impact assessment as a central elementin a decision-making process designed to achieve the goal of sustainablemanagement. The Ministry for the environment has issued a guide to the Act (MfE,1991b), a single guide to scoping (MfE, 1992b) and several guidesmentioning the environmental assessment or regional policies and plansand of district plans (MfE, 1991c, d, 1992a, 1993) and several other EIAleaflets. The Acts provides the outline of the EIA process, but leaves muchdetail to be provided by individual regional authorities.Under the current arrangement in New Zealand, the local government hasthe responsibility of administrating the EIA system and, in particular, theplanning departments in local authorities are responsible for dealing withproponents and making recommendations on the basis of the EIA. The Resource Management Act provides for a two-phase screening processand encourages scoping. It indicates the content requirement for EIA report,provides for public participation and consultation and requires that thereport be considered in the decision. The main steps involved in EIA in New Zealand are:Alternatives/Design → Screening → Scoping → EIA Report Preparation →   Review → Decision Making → Monitoring  EIA SYSTEMS IN CANADA As a result of public agitation, the Environmental Assessment and ReviewProcess (EARP) was established by cabinet decision on 20 th December, 1973and amended by a second decision in 1977. These provisions were in1984, formalized in the Environmental Assessment Review ProcessGuidelines Order. The EARP Guidelines were intended to ensure that theenvironmental consequences of proposals for which the federal governmenthas decision-making authority were assessed.Environmental assessment is high profile process in Canada, partly becauseits application provides one of the most visible manifestations of thegovernment’s commitment to the environment and partly because it oftenprovides the best available opportunity for public participation in theenvironmental decision making. EA has been subject to significant conflictsbetween federal and provincial governments. Each of the ten provincesand two territories has its own EA legislation which is, generally, moresatisfactory than the federal system.At present, the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act CEAA is thecomprehensive EIA-specific law, passed in response to a series of legalchallenges and rulings on the previous 1984 Guidelines Order. CEAA cameinto force in 1995. Legislative amendments were introduced in 2001 andcame into force on October 30, 2003. The legislation is of interestinternationally because it entrenches the principle of public participation,designates the responsibilities of federal authorities in regulations andprescribes the requirements and procedure for undertaking different levelsof EIA. The Act applies only to projects. Unlike the EARP, the CEAA is lessdiscretionary though it bears many similarities to the EARP. The main steps in the Canadian EA process are:Alternatives/Design → Screening → Scoping → EIA Report Preparation →   Public Review → Decision Making → Monitoring
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