Changes in environmental permisology: Project seeks to improve institutionality and efficiency

Jan 25, 2024

This bill is included within the Government’s measures to reform the SEIA, streamlining its processes to promote investment.

With the aim of accelerating public and private investment, the Executive presented the Environmental Assessment 2.0 project that updates the General Environmental Bases Law almost 30 years after its enactment.

Its entry took place on january 10, 2024 with the aim of strengthening environmental institutionality and guaranteeing environmental protection, as well as making the processes associated with management instruments more efficient.

The main modifications it contains go in the following line:

Redesign of the Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA): It includes modifications to the procedure that promote its voluntary application and make it more agile and expeditious. Now it will be enough only with the manifestation of the Ministry or Service responsible for the instrument with the agreement of the Ministry of the Environment. The Ministry of the Environment is also recognized for its collaborative role in this process.

Modifications in the rules of entry of projects to evaluation and typologies of the Environmental Impact Assessment System (SEIA): The scope of some of these rules is clarified and hypotheses are established where projects should be rated negatively or terminate their processing early. In addition, adjustments and modifications are made to the typologies contained in Article 10 of Law No. 19,300. The hypotheses are also extended so that the expedited processing of projects operates and the reduction of deadlines for planned projects is contemplated through a procedure that has already passed through EAE.

The political component of the SEIA is eliminated: The political bodies (COEVA and the Committee of Ministers) are eliminated by technical bodies.

Modifications in the environmental impact assessments: In order to determine more precisely how the environmental rating of a project or activity should take into account the synergy and accumulation of impacts caused both by the project itself, and with other existing projects or activities within its area of influence.

The burdens associated with relevance consultations are reduced: This project proposes to create the figure of the affidavit, through which the holder can inform of changes that are not of consideration of their respective projects or activities with RCA

Single Complaint Remedy: A single complaint procedure is created that will integrate the legitimated assets of both the administrative and judicial procedure, thus eliminating the current use of the invalidation remedy. This single complaint resource, at the administrative headquarters, will be known by the Executive Directorate of the SEA, regardless of the route of entry of the project or activity to the SEIA. In addition, it will have an urgent deadline to be resolved, with a negative silence rule that will allow the claimant to apply directly to the competent Environmental Tribunal if it is not resolved within the deadline.

Difficulties for participation in the framework of the SEIA: The requirements for the citizen participation stage to operate are relaxed.

Limitations of the liability system for environmental damage: Active legitimation of the CDE is incorporated into any event to sue for environmental damage. The burden of proof will also be modified, making it dynamic according to the availability and ease of proof of each party to the litigation. Also, the limitation period is increased to 5 years from the last manifestation of environmental damage.

Rigidity of the Council of Ministers for Sustainability and Climate Change: Functions and attributions are taken away from it. Notwithstanding the foregoing, the proposed amendment maintains as an express attribution of the Council the review of intersectoral instruments, such as those associated with the Framework Law on Climate Change, and establishes the possibility that the same Council decides to review any act or instrument of particular interest in environmental matters.

Finally, this bill is included within the package of measures that the Government has implemented to reform the SEIA, streamlining its processes to promote investment.

Another recent change in this regard was the Reform of the SEIA Regulations, where the minimum contents of Environmental Impact Statements and Studies were modified, the duty to submit summaries in their conducting writings, the strengthening of the possibility of revisions of Environmental Rating Resolutions, the inclusion of the figure of participatory monitoring, the expansion of the concept of environmental burden so that the process of citizen participation is activated, among other changes.

This was the prelude to the project that the Government is now entering to bring to the legal level many of the aspects that began to be transformed from this regulatory reform.

For more information, you can contact our Public Law and Regulated Markets team:

Antonio Rubilar | Director of the Public Law and Regulated Markets group |

Alejandro Montt | Director of Energy and natural resources |

Francisco Alarcón | Associate |

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