WITHDRAW EIA DRAFT 2020, INDIA
The Government of India put forward a draft, with significant regressive amendments to the existing Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) regulations with a pro-industry mindset that facilitates “ease of doing business”.
We request to withdraw it with the open letter and 100+ global signatories from 13 countries and 35+ institutions!
Image courtesy: business-standard.com
100+ global signatures below:
The Union Minister
Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change
Govt. of India
We hope this letter finds you in good health and with the needful wisdom, the kind of which, is direly sought in our collaborative efforts to safeguard India’s flora and fauna and to protect the indigenous communities thriving among them. Please find attached herewith, a joint-statement by 102 global research scholars, social activists and environmentalists from 13 countries and 38 global institutions around the world. We tender our profound concern for the recent attempts by your office to dilute environmental regulations through the Draft EIA 2020, which endangers both the lives of people and millions of species dependent on the well-being of the environment. This concern is justly based on a platform of strong scientific research, on which many of the undersigned person’s are actively involved.
The devastating implications of loose environmental regulation can be witnessed in the recent ecological tragedies like the Maguri Beel oil spill in Assam, that has also displaced over 3000 villagers and killed 3. Likewise, the intent to convert Dehing-Patkai Wildlife Sanctuary, one of the last remaining rainforests in India, into a mining hub by Coal India Limited, is indeed worrisome. Furthermore, the proposal to build the largest hydropower dam in the Dibang Valley, Arunachal Pradesh threatens the existence of the indigenous Idu Mishmi community, who have been sustainably co-existing in the rainforests and have safeguarded the ecology for centuries.
The aforementioned instances, and many others like these, go against the spirit of the Paris Agreement 2015, which India has ratified. Unlike other participating nations, such as Germany, whose leaders proactively look towards phasing out coal-based industries by 2038, the Govt. of India is rather taken a U-turn in its motivation. The colonial perspective of draining natural resources from the land, for the ‘greater’ good of the economy is out-balanced by the potential over-expenditures resulting from climate change.
Lastly, we, on behalf of the international community, would like to ask the environmental ministry to withdraw the EIA2020 draft because it does not enable environment protection, but rather serves only as an environment clearance process. It also waives of public consultation for major projects, which would threaten the local communities and ecology. We support the Comments and objections on EIA2020 Draft by the Legal Aid Clinic of Jindal Law School and recommend the ministry to take them into consideration.
Team Humane Warriors
We request the Ministry of Environment of India to withdraw the EIA2020 draft because it does not enable environment protection, but rather serves only as environment clearance process. It also waives of public consultation for major projects, which would threaten the local communities and ecology.
Our call-for-action report with compilation of relevant resources here: Withdraw EIA2020
Some of the major problematic amendments:
The draft EIA Notification legalises post-facto clearances (i.e. it gives clearances after projects have already begun or been completed) allowing legalising projects which were not approved before.
Public consultation has been waived off for a variety of projects areas such as inland waterways, oil and gas exploration, roads and pipelines in border areas, and for capacity expansion projects (upto 50%) across all sectors. transportation, etc. Also, any project the government deems to self-label as "strategic" is exempt from the purview of the EIA.
Industries are now required to submit compliance reports only once a year, which is reduced from twice a year. Additionally the delegation of monitoring powers for these projects is majorly allocated to government institutions, and it is not clarified how these institutions will be selected.
The time frame of public consultations has been reduced from 30 days to 20 days without any justifications.
Our extended take on this topic and consequences: Blog on environmental justice