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Environmental Impact Assessment

  • By: Bram F. Noble
  • In: Encyclopedia of Geography
  • Edited by: Barney Warf
  • Subject:General Geography, Earth & Environmental Science

Environmental impact assessment (EIA) is one of the most widely practiced environmental management tools in the world. The International Association for Impact Assessment, the world's leading authority on impact assessment, defines EIA as the process of identifying, predicting, evaluating, and mitigating the biophysical, social, and other relevant effects of development proposals on the environment prior to taking major decisions and making commitments. As a formal, systematic, and often regulation-based process, EIA is not to be confused with related environmental studies, such as environmental site assessments, whose purpose is to determine the nature and extent of environmental contaminants at a specific site and to identify remediation plans. These latter studies are much more common and shorter, though in some cases they lead to the preparation of ...

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