The Green Laws - On the Threats Lying in Wait for Businesses and their Directors in Environmental Legislation
"Green-Blue-White" Vol. 6
Tzvi Levinson, Adv.
Israeli Environmental Law is in its infancy yet developing rapidly. Recent legislation bears with it stricter standards of performance, and imposes a duty to invest in technological advancements in equipment. Since the Environmental Legislation changes over a shorter time frame than the "life expectancy" of major projects you will do good to follow Act proposals (both in Israel and abroad) that will change (retroactively even) the legal status-quo when they come into effect, and take them into account in your business plans. Certain common features of litigation in environmental matters can be pointed out: The merits of activities that conform to today's environmental requirements may be adjudicated in light of the Legislation and Performance Standards of tomorrow. There is much uncertainty regarding the scope of persons' standing to sue and its grounds. It is difficult to prove the causal chain of events leading from a certain activity to the pollution caused. In many instances there may be several actors, each contributing to some extent to the pollution caused. Several types of liability may ensue: Both civil and criminal proceedings may be pressed against a polluter; The organization and its officers may find themselves side by side on the defendants bench; Liability may even be strict or absolute. Uncertainty also abides as to the Limitation period. The worldwide common way of minimizing environmental risks is to thoroughly implement an Environmental Management System in an organization. The first step towards implementing an EMS is the preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement. A meticulously conducted EIS has the following advantages: Identifying the environmental risks to which the organization is exposed, thus alerting it to pollution caused by its activities for which legal proceedings for damages and for clean-up may be brought. It is a business tool to achieve efficiency in the use of resources, energy and technology. Also, when considering whether to press charges against an organization in environmental offenses, and in the forming of its position in the matter of the penalty to be imposed, authorities take into account.