- US National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA, 1969)
- New Zealand Resource Management Act (RMA, 1991)
- Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (CEAA, 1993; proclaimed in 1995)
- European Commission (EC) Directive on EIA (1985, amended 1997)
The requirements of the Directive are also reflected in the EIA legislation, policy and institutional arrangements of countries beyond the boundaries of the European Union, notably by applicant countries of Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) which are bringing their own EIA systems into line with them. In addition, the Directive can be expected to influence EIA law making in other CEE countries in transition and may have a more generalised influence as a relatively standardised, commonly accepted, minimum process for EIA.
The current Directive (97/11/EC) amends the earlier EIA Directive (85/337/EEC) and the key provisions include:
- broad definition of the effects to be considered
- mandatory application for specified projects
- requirement to submit an EIA report
- types of information to be provided by developer
- outline of alternatives studied and reasons
- submission to be made available for public comment
- results of consultations and information must be taken into consideration in decision-making
- content and reasons for decisions made public detailed arrangements for public consultation to be drawn up by Member States
International environmental law and policy of relevance to EIA
As demonstrated, significant developments have taken place in international environmental law and policy which are relevant to or applicable by the EIA systems of all countries. These can be divided into:
- non-binding instruments, such as the Rio Declaration, that establish important principles for sustainable development, including those which need to be reflected in EIA arrangements (e.g. the application of the precautionary principle);
- legal conventions and treaties related to environmental protection at the global or regional level, which carry obligations for signatory countries that may be met through EIA arrangements; and
- legal conventions and protocols that apply specifically to EIA arrangements â€“ of which the Espoo Convention is the most notable example.
A number of international environmental agreements establish substantive obligations on the countries that ratify them . The Conventions on Climate Change and Biological Change are flagship agreements because of their global scope, the importance of the issues that are addressed and their ratification by a large number of countries. EIA is specified as a mechanism for implementing certain aspects of both agreements. More generally, it can ensure that the proposed actions of signatory countries are in compliance with these and other international environmental agreements (including those listed in the EIA Wiki).