Environmental Impact Statement: The "Golem Risen Against its Creator" On Voluntary EIS, Compulsory EIS and the Securing of Information Disclosed in EIS
Tzvi Levinson, Adv.
Most corporations whose activities affect environment have come to appreciate the advantages and need for a formal, modern approach that ensures that environmental factors become part and parcel of the business decision making process, from preliminary planning to everyday management. An indispensable part of this approach is the preparation of a document, or series of documents, called an Environmental Impact Statement (though many other names are also in use). Powers to require the preparation of an EIS have been granted to Authorities in several statutory instruments: The Planning and Building Law 1965 The Planning and Building Regulations (Environmental Impact Assessment) 1982 Certain National Outline Schemes The Business' Licensing Law 1968 The Business' Licensing Regulations (Hazardous Installations) 1993 An EIS should be punctual and brief. An EIS prepared in accordance to vague and general instructions is usually a large volume that no one can understand. The key to the success of an EIS system is the reasonableness of its requirements, on the one hand, and the entrepreneur's realization of its importance, on the other hand. If the entrepreneur will conceive the EIS only as an obstacle to be braved, the EIS will not achieve its purpose and will probably attract many criticisms as to its quality. Considerable sums are expended in preparing a voluntary EIS: Hiring expert advise to prepare it; Implementing its recommendations; Acting in accordance to its conclusions in constructing or modifying facilities; And monitoring. It is the purpose of an EIS to expose environmental misconduct, yet this admission in the breach of environmental standards can back-fire on an organization and its RCOs. Also, the EIS may reveal trade secrets and other confidential information of the organization. Israel has not accorded privilege to a voluntary EIS.