Environmental Clearance Regulation

Environmental Clearance Regulation

Environmental Clearance Regulation

The Shore Nuisance (Bombay and Kolaba) Act, 1853 was the first act related to the environment in India. The two decades after that have seen an immense number of enactments within the nation Environmental Laws- one of them was regarding Environmental Clearance Regulation. Environmental Clearance Regulation is one such procedure by which public activity is hindered, to safeguard the environment.

Environment Clearance is wholly managed by governments all over the world, whether abroad or in India. There are also some acts, provisions, and enactments which have been made under the Indian legal framework as well, which entirely regulates and monitors all Environmental Clearance.

A beginning in our nation was made with the Environmental Impact Assessment of river valley projects, in 1978-79 and Environmental Clearance is a portion of Environmental Impact Assessment.

Environmental Clearance is referred to as a process that includes obtaining government clearance for some projects to be evolved, or even to modify or to install several projects. It is compulsory to firstly get government clearance for projects that can cause severe damage to the environment, or cause intense environmental pollution of any kind. This sort of clearance is compulsory for ecologically fragile areas, nonetheless of what kind of a project it is.

In normal words, environmental clearance can be described as the clearance of forests, etc. to landscape a certain area, for a purpose. The aim may be setting up of factory industry or mining operations, etc. In India, Environmental Clearance must go through the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for several developmental projects.

Environmental Impact Assessment is said to be a device that combines all environmental concerns into the procedure of development, from the grassroots level. It makes absolute sense that development is being done keeping in mind the environment and causes or minimal harm to the environment in the procedure of development.

Environmental Impact Assessment exists in the early stages of planning of the project and makes certain that all strategies are induced to protect the environment from the beginning stages of industrialization, etc. Various acts limit all environmental damages and control them. They fully safeguard the interests of the environment.

Some of the General Environmental Acts are:

  1. The Environment (Protection) Act, 1986
  2. The National Environmental Tribunal Act, 1995
  3. The National Environment Appellate Authority Act, 1997
  4. The Biological Diversity Act, 2002
  5. National Green Tribunal Act, 2010

In the case of S. Kumar V. The District Collector, Villupuram District (Madras High Court), 2010 it was held that Environmental Impact Assessment and Environmental Clearance are connected to each other, one supports the other in all cases.

Categories of Environmental Clearance Regulation

There are two categories of Environmental Clearances for projects and they are the following as under:

  1. Category A: These projects require compulsory environmental clearance for them to be developed and operated. These sorts of projects do not even go through the screening procedure mainly, as environmental clearance is essential. Projects falling under this type of category go to the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change for clearance.
  2. Category B: These upcoming projects undergo a compulsory screening procedure. They go to the State Government for clearance. Projects falling under this type of category get further categorized into two kinds i.e. B1 & B2. The only difference between these two also is that B2 kind of projects does not need to carry out preparation of the Environmental Impact Assessment Report.
Procedure for Environmental Clearance

The steps which are included in the procedure for Environmental Clearance are the following as under:

  1. Identification of location: The location for the project should always be chosen as per which it should comply with the existing guidelines. If the project site, anyhow, does not comply with the existing guidelines, then the proponent for the site has to select another site that has to comply with the guidelines.
  2. Screening: The project proponent should then evaluate which category of projects the upcoming or proposed project falls in, and then the proponent has to decide whether or not the project needs an environmental clearance, whether or not it needs Environmental Impact Assessment, and by whom, as per the category of the project.
  3. Public Hearing: For some particular projects, this is a compulsory step in the procedure of environmental clearance. This is a part of the Environmental Impact Assessment process. It supports and motivates the public of the certain geographical area that the proposed project is said to be developed in, to come forward and express their opinions and concerns concerning the proposed project, in front of the Government. This process to a great extent influences the Environmental Clearance and Government, concerning the project.
  4. Application: There is an online application process that has to be done by the proponent. The proponent has to submit an application, online, for environmental clearance. The projects that come under category A, apply on the MoEFCC website, on the other hand for the projects of category B apply on the State website for the clearance.
  5. Environmental Appraisal: The documents that are submitted by the project proponent are examined by the disciplinary committee. If so required a site visit may also be conducted.
Current Scenario of Environmental Clearance Regulations

Recently, the Environment Ministry of the Government of India has introduced a new set of rules that governs the nation's entire environmental clearance system for industrial projects. These projects include mines, dams, highways, etc. These new sets of rules seem to be immensely in support of industrialization.

In the latest draft of the Environmental Impact Assessment notification 2020, the environment ministry has also introduced a lifeline to all industrial projects that have started functioning without having a valid environmental clearance by the concerned authorities. This draft is going to replace the Environmental Impact Assessment notification of 2006.