Do licenses for water resource exploitation require an environmental impact assessment?
Mr. Ban Van Nam's company (Bac Kan) has several projects that involve water exploitation for rural domestic water supply. These projects were decided for investment and had their economic and technical reports approved from 2020-2021 (before the effective date of the 2020 Environmental Protection Law), and they were not subject to the requirement of conducting an environmental impact assessment report as per the 2014 Law.
However, when Mr. Nam's company submitted a request for a license to exploit and use water resources according to the provisions of the Water Resources Law and the administrative procedures specified in Government Decree No. 02/2023/ND-CP dated February 1, 2023, which details the implementation of certain articles of the Water Resources Law, the reviewing authority disagreed to accept and review the application for a water resource exploitation license, citing the absence of an approved environmental impact assessment report as required by Article 36, Point g of the 2020 Environmental Protection Law.
Mr. Nam inquired whether the reviewing authority's decision not to proceed with the acceptance and review of the application for the company's water resource exploitation and use license was in line with the provisions of the Water Resources Law and the administrative procedures stated in Decree No. 02/2023/ND-CP.
In response to this matter, the Water Resources Management Department, Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, stated the following:
In the absence of any additional information beyond the provided details, the Water Resources Management Department responds as follows:
Based on Articles 31 and 32 of Decree No. 02/2023/ND-CP, the elements of an application for, extension of, or amendment to a water exploitation and use license do not include the requirement for approval of the project's environmental impact assessment report.
However, the issuance of a water exploitation and use license must adhere to the principles and criteria stipulated in Articles 18, 19, and 20 of Decree No. 02/2023/ND-CP. In these articles, it is necessary to meet the requirements for the protection of water resources and the environment.
By: Translator: LeAnh-Bizic
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