Using Online Databasing to Unlock the Full Potential of Environmental Impact Assessments

Read the full post at the Climate Law Blog.

Government agencies are often required to conduct some form of environmental impact assessment (EIA) before approving a major project or proposal. The documents generated during these assessments contain a wealth of information about baseline environmental conditions, impact assessment methodologies, predicted impacts, and environmental mitigation measures. But these documents are often filed away and forgotten after the proposal is approved, and as a result, the valuable information contained therein is rarely utilized in future applications.

The Sabin Center has published a paper describing how public access to and utilization of EIA data could be improved through the development of a centralized and fully searchable online database. The paper first outlines the rationale for undertaking such an endeavor: it describes the type of information contained in EIA documents, potential applications of this information, and the limitations of existing EIA databases (which only cover a subset of the total universe of EIA documents).

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