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Reformed Environmental Impact Assessment in China: An Evaluation of Its Effectiveness

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Document pages: 20 pages

Abstract: Since 2015, a “reform storm” of Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) opened up in China. This study tries to answer the question of whether these reforms improve the effectiveness of EIA. First, we elaborate on the reforms along with three well-acknowledged components, including EIA legislation, administration, and process. Then, evaluate the reformed EIA system against revised Ahmad and Wood’s criteria. The results demonstrate that the revised laws and regulations are more stringent than the old versions. The EIA process is simplified, and its coordination with the pollutant discharge permit system is promoted. The interim and post-event supervision is currently more robust and the penalties are more severe than before. However, the hierarchical position of the Environmental Protection Law is not high enough and the coordination of different government departments is still challenging. In summary, despite the problems occurring at the initial phase of reforms, the effectiveness of the EIA system has largely been improved.

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