Environment Ministry could lift impact assessment requirement for exploration drilling in the Arctic
The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment is willing to replace the environmental assessment requirement for exploration drilling in the Arctic with additional environmental protection measures.
“I believe that we can cancel the project documentation requirement for the construction and renovation of boreholes in the Arctic, which will be replaced with conciliation procedures and additional environmental protection measures,” Minister Alexander Kozlov said at a meeting on environmental assessment with mining companies.
According to one of the proposed requirements, the environmental protection section of project documents for geological exploration must specify the criteria and figures of permissible environmental impact.
Another proposal concerns the assessment of project documentation for compliance with environmental protection laws, to be conducted by Rospotrebnadzor at the stage of the project’s coordination and assessment in accordance with the Subsoil Law.
The meeting participants also discussed the importance of taking an inventory of temporarily and permanently abandoned prospecting and exploration wells, as well as keeping records of drilling and exploration wells for the purpose of mining in the register of environmentally hazardous sites.
Federal Law No. 194 On State Support for Entrepreneurial Activities in the Arctic Zone of the Russian Federation, which came into effect in August 2020, stipulates that all construction and reconstruction projects in the Arctic must undergo a state environmental assessment. Last fall, it was proposed that this requirement be lifted from social facilities located within the boundaries of settlements in the Arctic. The list of such facilities is to be approved by the federal government.