NEWS

Government presents to Congress the reform of the Environmental Impact Assessment System.

On January 10, 2024, the Government presented to the Senate a bill that modifies various legal frameworks with the aim of strengthening environmental institutionalism and improving its efficiency. In general terms, the subjects it seeks to reform include Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA), the Environmental Impact Assessment System (EIAS) in multiple aspects, responsibility for environmental damage, and the Council of Ministers for Sustainability and Climate Change.

The main proposed modifications are as follows:

  • Redesigning the SEA concerning (i) the subjects to which it applies; (ii) the body responsible for conducting it; (iii) incorporating the Ministry of the Environment as a collaborator; and (iv) regarding its procedure.
  • Regarding the EIAS, it can be noted that (i) the incompatibility of projects with Planning and Territorial Ordinance Instruments results in an unfavorable environmental qualification or even an early termination of the procedure; (ii) the functions of the Environmental Evaluation Commission (COEVA) are transferred to the Regional Directors of the EIAS; (iii) modification, elimination, and inclusion of new types of entry into the EIAS; (iv) urgent qualification for certain projects; (v) broad and non-political appeal process; (vi) extensive citizen participation; (vii) expansion of the possibility to review Environmental Qualification Resolutions; (viii) changes in the practice of reporting changes or modifications that are not considered (Relevance Consultation vs. Sworn Declaration by the Holder); and (ix) the possibility of shifting the burden of proof in environmental damage liability lawsuits, among others.
  • Adaptation of Law No. 20,600, which establishes Environmental Courts, and Law No. 20,417, which creates the Ministry, the Environmental Evaluation Service, and the Environmental Superintendent.
  • Among the transitional provisions, it is stipulated that environmental impact assessment procedures for projects or activities initiated before the entry into force of the law will continue to be processed in accordance with their rules until their completion, among other measures.

Should you require additional information on this matter, please contact Javier Naranjo (jnaranjo@jdf.cl), Martín Esser (messer@jdf.cl) or María Paz Valenzuela (mpvalenzuela@jdf.cl).

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