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Manufacturing Pre-Decisions: A Comparative Analysis of Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) Reviews in Brazil and Portugal

1
Graduate Program in Environmental Engineering, Federal University of Ouro Preto, Ouro Preto 35400-000, Brazil
2
CENSE—Center for Environmental and Sustainability Research, NOVA School of Science and Technology, NOVA University Lisbon, 2829-516 Lisbon, Portugal
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2019, 11(12), 3235; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11123235
Received: 19 May 2019 / Revised: 5 June 2019 / Accepted: 8 June 2019 / Published: 12 June 2019
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Engineering and Science)
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PDF [1134 KB, uploaded 12 June 2019]
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Abstract

The review of environmental impact statements (EIS), despite its relevance to impact assessment effectiveness, has received scarce scholarly attention. Few studies have gone beyond the realm of regulatory evaluations to understand the managerial meanders of the review process. This study evaluated the responsibilities, procedures, information inputs, and scope of EIS reviews within two environmental authorities: APA (Portuguese Environment Agency), in Portugal, and SEMAD (State Secretariat for Environment and Sustainable Development), in the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais. Based on a qualitative multiple-case study methodology informed by participant observation, unstructured interviews, and content analysis of 12 EIS review reports, the study provided what is arguably one of the most detailed characterizations of EIS review to date. While following similar institutional arrangements and broad procedural steps, the EIS review has important differences in APA and SEMAD. Overall, the Portuguese agency was found to have a more structured, participative, interdisciplinary, detailed, and grounded review, thus meeting some of the good practices often cited in the literature. The EIS review reports prepared by APA reviewers were also found to provide a profoundly more complete and transparent account of the review process. The details of the review process revealed in the article can affect perceptions around the legitimacy and reliability of reviewers’ recommendations. View Full-Text
Keywords: environmental impact assessment (EIA); review stage; environmental impact statement (EIS); EIS review; public administration; Portugal; Brazil environmental impact assessment (EIA); review stage; environmental impact statement (EIS); EIS review; public administration; Portugal; Brazil
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MDPI and ACS Style

Rocha, C.F.; Ramos, T.B.; Fonseca, A. Manufacturing Pre-Decisions: A Comparative Analysis of Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) Reviews in Brazil and Portugal. Sustainability 2019, 11, 3235.

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