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Chilean Environmental Framework Law

Paul J. Schlauch, International Oil, Gas, and Mining Development in Latin America (1994)

I. Introduction and Summary of the Law

Although over the years it has enacted more than 2000 laws relating, in one form or another, to environmental matters, until recently Chile had no organized framework for environmental administration or regulation. However, on March 9, 1994, a new environmental framework became effective,2 which will significantly effect the manner in which the potential environmental impacts of future significant public and private projects and activities are evaluated and regulated. The law creates a system of environmental impact review, with which all projects and activities in broadly defined categories must comply. If a project or activity is within the scope of the statutory system, its proponent must prepare either a Declaration of Environmental Impact or a Study of Environmental Impact. A Study must be prepared for any activity which could pose a risk to public health, have a significant adverse affect on renewable natural resources, lifestyles, customs or tourism, or have other specified adverse impacts. Declarations must be prepared for all activities or projects subject to the environmental impact review system for which a Study is not required. The law provides that the public must be notified of all projects subject to the evaluation system and be afforded an opportunity to comment on all Studies.

The new law assigns respons