SPAIN: Water Secretary slams Ministry’s environmental impact assessments

Spain's Secretary of State for Water and Coastlines, Benigno Blanco, has severely criticised the Environment Ministry's current procedures and proposed new law for environmental impact assessment. Blanco caused controversy by describing the proposed new law on environmental impact assessment as frightening, arbitrary, lacking legal foundation and seriousness, and failing to comply with national legislation.


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In an internal document leaked to the national newspaper El Paìs Blanco likens the current environmental impact assessment (EIA) procedure to a judgement without trial. He says that arbitary procedures and no set deadlines lead developers to see it as a political process whose outcome is determined by the developer’s ability to apply political pressure or by the views expressed by ecologist groups or the media.

In a response to the Director of Environmental Quality and Assessment’s request for comment on the draft bill on environmental assessment, Blanco described the text as frightening and lacking in legal sense. Environment Minister, Isabel Tocino, attempted to play down the crisis, but acknowledged that the bill suffered from vagueness, procedural problems and holes, reports, El Paìs.

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