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What is an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)?

An Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is a science-based study of the possible effects projects may have in an assigned area. This study looks at how the proposed project’s effects will affect the land environmentally, socially, and economically. EIAs help in developing policies and plans for land use and in determining ways to minimize any negative ramifications that such projects may have.

In many countries, an EIA is required by law before work can begin. All processes usually follow the following steps:

1. Applicants provide a detailed description of their proposed project to the appointed environmental authority such as the Environmental Protection Agency in the United States.

2. Applications are screened to determine if there is a need for an EIA.

3. Area is studied to understand the past, present, and future conditions against what effects may develop from the project.

4. Any possible effects are identified and then assessed for degree of effect.

5. Plans are made in how to manage and minimalize effects.

6. Technical and public reviews of findings are made.

7. Decision of if the project should move forward and what conditions will be implemented.

8. Project is monitored for actual outcomes.

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Other Sources

Noble, Bram F. “Environmental Impact Assessment.” The Canadian Encyclopedia. http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/environmental-impact-assessment/. Accessed August 3, 2016.

United States Environmental Protection Agency. “Environmental Impact Assessment.” EPA. http://www.epa.ie/monitoringassessment/assessment/eia/. Accessed August 3, 2016.