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The screening and scoping of environmental impact assessment and strategic environmental assessment of carbon capture and storage in the Netherlands

By J.M. Koornneef, A.P.C. Faaij and W.C. Turkenburg


The Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) are procedural tools which have as goal to assess and evaluate possible environmental effects of, respectively, a proposed project or policy plan. The goal of this article is to explore possible bottlenecks in applying both the EIA and SEA procedures on Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) activities in the Netherlands, as experience is currently minimal or lacking. In this study we focus mainly on the institutional and procedural aspects of the screening and scoping phases of both procedures. This is achieved by reviewing EIA and SEA procedures for analogue projects for the three distinctive process steps of a CCS project, namely the power plant with capture, the transport and finally the underground storage of the CO2. Additionally, EIA and SEA or similar procedures on CCS in other countries are reviewed and the legal framework for the Dutch EIA and SEA is studied. This article shows a concise overview of the EIA and SEA procedure in the Netherlands and the relation between both procedures. Based on our findings we have constructed a conceptual taxonomy for the scope of both procedures for CCS in the Netherlands. This taxonomy conceptualizes the possible integration of assessing the environmental impacts for tiered levels of decision making. This integration might be needed for first CCS projects as decisions on the strategic (spatial planning) level are currently absent for CCS in the Netherlands. Perpendicular to such integration is the integration of linked activities in the CCS chain and their alternatives, into one procedure. We argue that it would be beneficial to combine the separate EIA procedures for CCS activities into one procedure or at least provide close linkage between them. This issue should be carefully considered by regulators, competent authorities and project initiators in an early stage to avoid delaying legal procedures in the future. For the same reason also early involvement of public, interested parties and the Netherlands Commission for the Environmental Impact Assessment in the scoping phase of the procedures is desired

Year: 2008
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