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Exploring the EIA / environmental management relationship: follow-up for performance evaluation

Morrison-Saunders, A. and Bailey, J. (2000) Exploring the EIA / environmental management relationship: follow-up for performance evaluation. In: IAIA '00 Back to the Future conference, 19 - 23 June, Hong Kong

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Environmental impact assessment (EIA) follow-up studies or audits can be conducted for a variety of reasons. Previously many audits have focused on scientific aspects of EIA, particularly the utility and accuracy of impact predictions (eg. Bisset 1984, Culhane et al. 1987, Buckley 1991, Bailey et al. 1992). More recent studies have emphasised other aspects of EIA performance including monitoring programmes and environmental outcomes (eg. Environmental Protection Department 1995, Au and Sanvicens 1996, Arts 1995, 1998). This paper presents the results of an audit of six projects that have undergone EIA in Western Australia that focuses on environmental management outcomes. The emphasis is on the actual impacts that occurred once the projects became operational and the environmental management actions (mitigation) undertaken to avoid or minimise impacts. To achieve this required some consideration of impact predictions as well as a detailed examination of environmental monitoring programmes for the case studies.

Background information on the role of environmental management in EIA in Western Australia is presented in Bailey (1997) and a complete account of the environmental management audit study results discussed here can be found in Morrison-Saunders and Bailey (1999). In this audit, environmental management activities were examined with respect to three stages of EIA based on the principal approval decision point–predecision stage (activities identified prior to decision-making on a project such as preparation of environmental impact statements and public review), postdecision stage (eg. activities that originated when the project was constructed and implemented) and transitional stage (activities identified during the predecision stage but subject to further investigation and modification during the postdecision stage). This paper presents the results of the management audit study, including some practical examples and concludes with some future directions for EIA follow-up and reflections on the role of science in EIA.

Item Type: Conference Paper
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Environmental Science
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