Draft law on the environmental impact assessment of shale gas extraction

On February 18, 2013, the Parliament of Ukraine has registered the draft law aimed at prevention of negative environmental impacts of unconventional hydrocarbons extraction projects under production sharing agreements (draft law #2318).

Верховна Рада України. Джерело: rada.gov.ua

Parliament of Ukraine. Source: rada.gov.ua

The draft law aims to increase the role of the public in the development of environmental policy and to ensure systematic environmental monitoring in order to avoid critical changes of the environment and to prevent environmental emergency situations.

The authors propose to introduce mandatory public hearings during the approval of the drafts of production-sharing agreements by local authorities. Accordingly, the decision of the local authorities on the approval of production sharing agreements should be made taking into account the proposals and conclusions from the public hearings on the environmental impact of exploration and extraction of fossil fuels under production-sharing agreements.

According to the draft law government authorities should estimate the quality of the environment in the area of future operation and wells construction before the start of any works under production-sharing agreement. Data obtained in the result of environmental monitoring must be published in the official printed media of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine. In addition, during the term of execution of production sharing agreement an environmental assessment (examination) should be undertaken at least once in a calendar year for determination of the degree of environmental risks and safety of planned or ongoing activities, impact assessment of the state of the environment and quality of natural resources.

It is proposed that the norms of this draft law will be applicable also for production sharing agreements concluded before the entry into force of this Law if they will be valid in the future.