EIA is an abbreviation of “Environmental Impact Assessment”. EIA is a report on how a project may affect the surrounding environment. According to the Environmental Protection Act, certain types of land based projects may not be initiated or changed without prior approval by Naalakkersuisut.
Why is there a need for an EIA?
Naalakkersuisut (the Greenland Government) requires this necessary information in order to evaluate the probable consequences a facility/project may have on the environment, and determine if the consequences on the environment are acceptable, compared to the advantages of constructing the facility in question. This applies to construction as well as expansion, or any alterations of a facility.
The report shall furthermore provide recommendations of the measures the project owner will need to implement in order to counteract any negative consequences on the environment.
The building owner compiles the VVM report
It is the project owner that compiles the EIA report. Prior to compiling the EIA report, the project owner shall draw up a plan for the environmental conditions in need of research, referred to as Terms of Reference. The proposed plan requires the approval by the Ministry of Independence, Nature, Environment and Agriculture before work on compiling the EIA report commences.
The project owner is responsible for implementing the necessary research and procuring the information required when compiling the VVM report.
Public hearings and citizen involvement
If the Minister of Environment and Nature determines that a public hearing may bring forth new information, the project owner will be requested to submit a rough draft of the Terms of Reference for a public hearing which is required to last for a period of six weeks. The Minister may also request that a public meeting or other forms of citizen participation take place during the compilation of the EIA report.
Following the public disclosure of the EIA report, the public is granted a period of eight weeks to comment or respond to the report. When the hearing is over the project owner will implement any changes the Minister of Environment and Nature deem necessary. If, following a hearing, the changes of the existing EIA report are of a significant nature, the Minister of Environment and Nature is entitled to request a new public hearing.
Regulation pertaining to EIA reporting is found in:
The obligation to submit an EIA report
The types of land based facilities that are always required to submit an EIA report are listed in the statutory regulation annex I. Annex I refers to the international obligations Greenland adheres to as a result of acceding to the ESPOO treaty.
Annex II list the types of land based facilities where Naalakkersuisut in each individual case can decide whether or not an EIA report is required.