Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 (EPA)
- EPA was introduced as an umbrella legislation that provides a holistic framework for the protection and improvement to the environment.
- Environment Protection Act, 1986 was passed and enacted under Article 253 of constitution
- It clearly defined the term ‘environment’ as a reference for all undertakings that were concerned with the environment
- EPA allowed for formulation of guidelines for the management of hazardous substances and national environmental standards.
Environmental impact assessment (EIA)
Environmental impact assessment is a planning process to predict, assess, and mitigate the potential impacts of project development on the biophysical and human environment. In 1994, the Union ministry of environment and forests (MoEF), under the Environmental (Protection) Act 1986, promulgated EIA notification, making Environmental Clearance (EC) mandatory for expansion or modernization of any activity or for setting up new projects listed in Schedule 1 of the notification. An EIA notification is issued under Section 3 of the Environment Protection Act.
draft Environment Impact Assessment Notification, 2020
Released by Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC), EIA Notification 2020 is to replace and supersede EIA Notification 2006.
- Categorization of projects and activities: All projects are divided into three categories
- Category ‘A’: Category ‘A’ projects, including expansion and modernization shall require prior Environment Clearance from the Ministry
- Category ‘B1’: Category ‘B1’ projects, including expansion and modernization of existing projects, excluding those near sensitive or protected zones (Polluted areas, protected areas, inter state boundaries, etc), shall require prior Environment Clearance from State Level Environment Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA) or Union Territory Level Environment Impact Assessment Authority (UTEIAA)
- Category ‘B2’: Category ‘B2’ projects that are required to be placed before Appraisal Committee as specified in the Schedule, shall require prior Environment Clearance from SEIAA or UTEIAA. Such projects shall not require any Scoping
- Linear projects such as roads and pipelines in border areas (100km from boundary) will not require any public hearing
- All inland waterways projects and expansion/widening of national highways will be exempted from public clearance.
- Post-facto clearance: Starting a project before obtaining environmental approvals will no longer be a violation, and it can be regularised post-facto.
- Reduces public consultation hearings to a maximum of 40 days, and reduces response submission during public hearing to 20 days
- For environment assessment, baseline data will be collected once (twice for river valley projects)
- Section 14 provides exemption from public consultation, also limiting the scope of public involvement to the districts concerned, in the case of national parks and sanctuaries where pipeline infrastructure will pass.
- Section 26 provides a list of projects that would not attract environmental clearance or permission, including coal mining and seismic surveys for oil, methane and shale gas on some lands
Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974
To provide for prevention, control and abatement of water pollution and the maintenance or restoration of the wholesomeness of water. The Act provides for constitution of central and State Boards for preventing water pollution
Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB)
- CPCB is a statutory organisation, constituted in 1974, under the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974.
- It serves as a field formation and also provides technical services to the Ministry of Environment and Forests of the provisions of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986.
- CPCB is under mandate - to promote cleanliness of streams and wells in different areas of the States by prevention, control and abatement of water pollution; and to improve the quality of air and to prevent, control or abate air pollution.
- Recent Initiatives
- CPCB will classify railway stations under the red, orange and green categories based on the quantity of waste water generated.
National Green Tribunal (NGT)
- National Green Tribunal was set under National Green Tribunal Act 2010, for effective and expeditious disposal of cases relating to environmental protection and conservation of forests and other natural resources
- NGT is guided by principles of natural justice. NGT is vested with the powers of a civil court under the Code of Civil Procedure for discharging its functions. NGT does not have suo moto power to take a case.
- NGT has original jurisdiction over all civil cases involving a substantial question relating to environment
- Substantial questions are those which affect the community at large, and not just individuals or groups of individuals.
- NGT consist of both judicial and expert members. Judicial members must have been judges of the Supreme Court or High Courts. Chairperson should either be a judge of Supreme Court or Chief Justice of High Court
- NGT has the power to hear all civil cases relating to environmental issues and questions that are linked to the implementation of laws listed in Schedule I of the NGT Act. These are:
- The Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974
- The Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Cess Act, 1977
- The Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980
- The Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981
- The Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 (EPA)
- The Public Liability Insurance Act, 1991
- The Biological Diversity Act, 2002
- June, 20
- EPA, TERI - Baghjan oil field fire in Tinsukia district, Assam
- NGT imposes fine on Karnataka government over pollution in Kithiganahalli Lake
- NGT imposes fine on LG chem for Visakhapatnam gas leak
- July, 20
- Parliamentary panel to discuss draft EIA
- Aug, 20
- NGT orders OIL to disburse compensation ranging from ₹2.5 lakh to ₹25 lakh to those affected by the oil well blowout in Assam’s Tinsukia