Environmental Impact Assessment

Environmental assessment (EA) is the term used for the assessment of the environmental consequences (positive and negative) of a plan, policy, program, or project prior to the decision to move forward with the proposed action. In this context, the term ‘environmental impact assessment’ (EIA) is usually used when applied to concrete projects and the term ‘strategic environmental assessment’ applies to policies, plans and programmes (Fischer, 2016). Environmental assessments may be governed by rules of administrative procedure regarding public participation and documentation of decision making, and may be subject to judicial review.

The purpose of the assessment is to ensure that decision makers consider the environmental impacts when deciding whether or not to proceed with a project. The International Association for Impact Assessment (IAIA) defines an environmental impact assessment as “the process of identifying, predicting, evaluating and mitigating the biophysical, social, and other relevant effects of development proposals prior to major decisions being taken and commitments made.”[1] EIAs are unique in that they do not require adherence to a predetermined environmental outcome, but rather they require decision makers to account for environmental values in their decisions and to justify those decisions in light of detailed environmental studies and public comments on the potential environmental impacts.

Engineering and consulting companies work hand in hand as contractors for mining, energy, oil & gas companies executing EIAs. Companies operating globally such as Arcadis, Royal HaskoningDHV, Golder Associates, Amec Foster Wheeler, Schlumberger Water Services (an Schlumberger company) are an example of a much bigger pool of expertise globally. These contractors are the ones not only in charge of preparing an EIA study but most importantly getting these studies approved by each country government offices prior to the execution of a project. Each country will also have its own local contractors offering the same kind of service hence breaking out monopolies by increasing the supply of EIAs execution consultants.

Academic article on EIA

Environmental Impact Assessment Decree

Environmental Impact Assessment Report

Nigeria: FG Reviews Environmental Impact Assessment Act to Enhance Development Projects Execution