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close this bookConducting Environmental Impact Assessment in Developing Countries (UNU, 1999, 375 pages)
close this folder3. EIA process
close this folder3.4 EIA process in tiers
View the document(introduction...)
Open this folder and view contents3.4.1 Screening
View the document3.4.2 Scoping
View the document3.4.3 The initial environmental examination
Open this folder and view contents3.4.4 The detailed EIA study

3.4.2 Scoping

If screening does not automatically clear a project, then the developer may be asked to undertake a scoping exercise. Scoping involves sufficient research and expert advice to identify the project's key impacts on the local environment in terms of impact issues and to evaluate briefly the importance of the critical issues to the various stakeholders apart from the decision makers.

Box 3.3 Environmental categorization of projects at the Asian Development Bank

The ADB's Office of the Environment (OENV), in consultation with staff from the projects departments, categorizes all projects listed in Country Operational Program Papers (COPP) and/or Project Processing Committee (PPC) notes, and sub-projects covered by the program, sector, or financial intermediary lending, according to their anticipated environmental impacts. Based on OENV's screening, projects are assigned to one of the following three categories:

Category A: Projects with significant adverse environmental impact as predicted by the IEE. An EIA is required.

Category B: Projects with adverse environmental impact but which are of lesser degree and/or significance than category A impact. Although an EIA may not be required, an IEE is required for these projects.

Category C: Projects unlikely to have adverse environmental impact. No EIA or IEE is normally required.

Illustrative examples of categorization of projects

Category A projects/sub-projects

(i) Forest industries (large-scale)
(ii) Irrigation (large-scale with new source development)
(iii) River basin development
(iv) Large-scale power plants
(v) Large-scale industries
(vi) Surface and underground mining
(vii) Large water impoundments
(viii) New railways/mass transit/roads (near or through sensitive areas)
(ix) Ports and harbours
(x) Water supply (with impoundment and/or river intakes)

Category B projects/sub-projects

(i) Agro-industries (small-scale or no wet processing)
(ii) Renewable energy
(iii) Aquaculture and mariculture
(iv) Rehabilitation, maintenance, and upgrading projects (small-scale)
(v) Industries (small-scale and without toxic/harmful pollution discharges)
(vi) Watershed projects (management or rehabilitation)
(vii) Water supply (without impoundments or new river intakes)
(viii) Tourism projects

Category C projects/sub-projects

(i) Forestry research and extension
(ii) Rural health services
(iii) Marine sciences education
(iv) Geological and mineral surveys
(v) Education
(vi) Family planning
(vii) Capital market development study
(viii) Securities ltd.

Box 3.4 Screening questions and project rating
________________________________________________________________________________

Project Screening Questions. Twelve project screening questions in Table A (below) have been developed to categorize potential project impacts according to project characteristics. The questions cover a broad range of major environmental impacts associated with the construction projects. These questions are answered either by "yes" or "no" or by "high", "medium", or "low". Determination of an answer is based upon response rating criteria.

Response Rating Criteria. Specific criteria were developed to determine the answer to each project screening question. Such criteria prescribe what is meant by a "high", "medium", or "low" (or "yes" or "no") rating for a particular question.

Example rating criteria presented in Table B (below) for each screening question were developed by use of informed professional judgement and were meant to apply to construction projects. Suggested response rating criteria shown in Table B would have to be modified to apply to other types of projects as experience in their use shows shortcomings.

Project Screening Criteria. Each response rating from Table B is assigned a score of 10, 5, or 0. For each "yes", a project gets a score of 10; for each "no", the score is 0; for "high", "medium", or "low" ratings, scores assigned are 10, 5, and 0, respectively.

Possible total scores for all combinations of various construction projects range from 0 to 120. Within this range, the following three levels of projects are defined:

Level I:

small-impact projects

scores 0-60

Level II:

medium-impact projects

scores 60-100

Level III:

high-impact projects

scores >100

Typically, level I projects may not be subjected to an EIA and may be left without prescription of SOPs. Level II projects may be asked to do an IEE, while level III projects need a comprehensive or detailed EIA.

Table A Screening questions

No

Question

Rating

Score

1

What is the approximate cost of the construction project?

high

10



medium

5



low

0

2

How large is the area affected by the construction project?

high

10



medium

5



low

0

3

Will there be a large, industrial type of project under construction?

yes

10



no

0

4

Will there be a large, water-related construction activity?

yes

10



no

0

5

Will there be a significant waste discharge (in terms of quantity and quality) to natural water?

yes

10



no

0

6

Will there be a significant disposal of solid waste (quantity and composition) on land as a result of construction and operation of the project?

yes

10



no

0

7

Will there be significant emissions (quantity and quality) to the air as a result of construction and operation of the project?

yes

10



no

0

8

How large is the affected population?

high

10



medium

5



low

0

9

Will the project affect any unique resources (geological/historical/archaeological/cultural/ecological)?

yes

10



no

0

10

Will the construction be on floodplains?

yes

10



no

0

11

Will the construction and operation be incompatible with adjoining land use in terms of aesthetics/noise/odour/general acceptance?

yes

10



no

0

12

Can the existing community infrastructure handle the new demands placed upon it during construction and operation of the project (roads/utilities/health services/vocational/education/other services)?

no

10



yes

0

Table B Example of response rating criteria

No

Criteria

Rating

1(a)

The construction is less than or equal to $1 million

low

1(b)

The construction cost is >$1 million but <$20 million

medium

1(c)

The construction cost is >$20 million

high

2(a)

The area affected by construction is less than or equal to 10 acres

low

2(b)

The area affected by construction is > 10 acres but <50 acres

medium

2(c)

The area affected by construction is > 50 acres

high

3(a)

An industrial-type project costing more than $1 million is involved

yes

3(b)

Otherwise

no

4(a)

The large water-related construction project consists of one or more of the following:

yes


a dam;



a dredging operation of 5 miles or longer and disposal of dredged spoils;



a bank encroachment that reduces the channel width by 5 percent;



filling of a marsh slough acres;



continuous filling of 20 or more acres of riverine or estuarine marshes;



a bridge across a major river (span: 400 feet).


4(b)

Otherwise

no

5(a)1

At least one of the following waste materials is discharged into the natural streams:

yes


asbestos



PCB



heavy metals



pesticides



cyanides



radioactive substances



other hazardous materials (specify)


5(a)2

Rock slides and soil erosion into streams may occur because:

yes


no underpinning is specified for unstable landforms;



no sluice boxes/retention basins are specified for excavation and filling


5(b)

Otherwise

no

6(a)1

At least one of the following solid wastes is disposed of on land:

yes


asbestos



PCB



heavy metals



pesticides



cyanides



radioactive substances



other hazardous materials


6(a)2

The solid waste generated is greater than 2 pounds/capita/day

yes

6(b)

Otherwise

no

7(a)1

If there are to be:



Concrete aggregate plant - EIS does not specify dust control devices

yes

7(a)2

Hauling operations - EIS does not specify use of dust control measures

yes

7(a)3

Road grading or land clearing - EIS does not specify water or chemical dust control

yes

7(a)4

Open burning - EIS does not specify disposal of debris

yes

7(a)5

Unpaved roads - EIS does not specify paved roads on construction sites

yes

7(a)6

Asphalt plants - EIS does not specify proper dust control devices

yes

7(b)

Otherwise

no

8(a)

Less than 20 persons are displaced by the project

low

8(b)

From 20 to 50 persons are displaced by the project

medium

8(c)

More than 50 persons are displaced by the project

high

9(a)1

A rich mineral deposit is located on the construction site

yes

9(a)2

A historical site or building is located at or near the construction site

yes

9(a)3

An existing or potential archaeological site is located near the construction project

yes

9(a)4

A rare or endangered species is resident on the land proposed for construction

yes

9(b)

Otherwise

no

10(a)

The construction project is on a 100-year floodplain

yes

10(b)

Otherwise

no

11(a)1

No visual screening is specified in the EIS for the construction site

yes

11(a)2

No progressive reclamation of quarry and/or disposal sites is proposed

yes

11(a)3

No permissible noise level specifications are stated for vibrators

yes

11(b)

Otherwise

no

12(a)

The projected demand for community services exceeds existing or planned capacity. These services include:

yes


water supply



wastewater treatment/disposal



electric generation



transportation



educational and vocational facilities



cultural/recreational facilities



health services



safety services, fire, flood, etc.


12(b)

Otherwise

no

"Otherwise" implies that none of the previously mentioned situations are applicable to the project.
________________________________________________________________________________


Figure 3.3 Multipurpose dam project: significant environmental issues to be examined in scoping

Setting the boundaries of the assessment is the most important step of the entire EIA. Too narrow a scope will likely leave out an important factor or effect, but too broad a scope may make the analysis unwieldy or take too long a time. Other aspects of scoping are to choose the important issues to be resolved and to agree on responsibilities for performing the EIA.

Setting the correct geographic boundary for analyses is essential. Consider, for example, a multi-purpose dam and reservoir project in a large upland watershed (refer to Fig. 3.3). A narrow financial analysis might include just the costs of the dam and hydroelectric generator and just the benefits of the power delivered to an electric grid. From the standpoint of society, however, many related effects on natural systems would be important.

In the case of industrial projects, the scope should include reasonably important factors (e.g., transport of raw materials and products, worker housing, and pollution or waste discharges) extending beyond the site. Highly imaginative indirect effects may be mentioned but need not be evaluated (e.g., civil unrest, price fluctuations in distant markets, rare natural calamities).

All time phases of the project (i.e., construction, operation, and decommissioning maintenance) should be covered. The more important question, however, is how far into the future predictions should be taken. Although their accuracy falls off rapidly with time, predictions of effects out to the expected lifetime of the project or facilities should be attempted. Instances where some sort of perpetual management is necessary (e.g., hazardous waste or radioactive materials) should be noted. If dismantling of a facility is necessary, the impacts of that activity at a future time should be covered.

In addition to geographic and time boundaries, the scoping team should agree on the alternatives and major issues to be addressed. Others may be added during the assessment, i.e., initial environmental examination, by using tests of significance, urgency, and irreversibility.

In particular, the scoping exercise should involve the following steps:

· review all written materials on the purpose, need, or prospectus for the project;

· perform field reconnaissance of the desired site or sites for the project;

· interview local residents and affected communities that use resources;

· consult with other agencies that have expertise, jurisdiction, or influence on the decision to approve, design, or site a project;

· consult with local or regional scientists at colleges, universities, institutes, or field stations;

· visit local political leaders where the project may be sited.

The first task of the study team is to conduct a "scooping'' meeting. The aim of scoping is to ensure that the study addresses all the impact issues of importance. A "map'' of the project (in the form of a neat sketch) at about 1:10,000 scale on a large piece of paper can be used to organize the discussion. All participants are encouraged to add items to the sketch and to propose alternatives and issues to be assessed. Flows of materials, energy, and people are indicated on the sketch map. Impacts are tentatively predicted. Ecologically sensitive areas (e.g., steep slopes, flood plains, wetlands) are located. Later, a fresh version of the map should be prepared. First, the study team's outlook is broadened (by discussions with the project developers, decision makers, the regulatory agency, scientific institutions, local community leaders, and others) to include all the possible issues and concerns raised by these various groups. Then the study team selects primary impacts (where the project activities affect directly the environmental components) for the EIA to focus on, making their choice on the basis of magnitude, geographical extent, significance to decision makers, or because of special local sensitivities (e.g., soil erosion, the presence of an endangered species, or a nearby historical site). Next, brief speculation is done on any significant secondary impacts (where the activities affect the environmental components in an indirect manner).

The scoping exercise can be used to assist early in the planning of a project (for instance, to narrow the discussion of possible sites) and it can serve as an early warning that the project may have serious impact issues. Scoping is thus an activity in the developer's interests.

In the framework of environmental impacts introduced earlier, scoping assists in the identification of all possible related impact issues. Box 3.5 illustrates how to grade the issues related to impacts in the scoping exercise of a fertilizer complex.