The National Green Tribunal has sought the response of the Environment Ministry regarding the decentralising power of appraisal of large projects, as proposed through an amendment to the Environment Protection Act, 1986.
“..we require the MoEF&CC (Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change)to file its response within four weeks..,” NGT Chairperson, Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel (retd), said in a recent order.
“We have heard learned counsel for the applicant. It is submitted that both the notifications are ultra vires the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 and Rules. Decentralising the power of appraisal of large projects and assignment of such power to SEIAA (State Environment Impact Assessment Authority) will be against the interest of environment in absence of capacity of the said bodies…,” the order stated.
“From the notification, it is seen that several projects are sought to be decentralised by giving power to SEIAA for grant of EC which power was being exercised by MoEF&CC. Object of appraisal of impact of a project on environment and grant of EC is to give effect to the ‘Precautionary’ principle of environmental law, which is part of sustainable development..” the order read.
“…unless the Central government is satisfied that functioning of SEIAAs are upgraded to enable it to take requisite load, decentralisation may result in irreversible environmental degradation by unchecked violations..” it noted further.
Further consideration of the matter will be on September 13.