The Environment Ministry has exempted oil and gas firms, looking to conduct exploratory drilling, from seeking environmental clearance
- The clearance is for both on-shore and offshore drilling explorations.
- Until today, exploratory surveys have merited the highest level of environmental scrutiny — called category ‘A’. This requires project proponents to prepare an environment impact assessment (EIA) plan, have it scrutinised by a Centrally constituted committee of experts and subject the proposal to a public hearing involving the locals of the proposed project site.
- The new amendments demote exploratory projects to the category of ‘B2’. This means it will be conducted by the States concerned and will not require an EIA.
- Developing an offshore or onshore drilling site as a hydrocarbon block will, however, continue to merit a “category A” treatment.
Important Info :
- The move is part of a larger process of decentralisation by the Centre in that it seeks to farm more regulatory actions to State and local units. Environmentalists warn that this can mean lax oversight.
Source : The Hindu