Improvement of Russian enviromental legislation: an outside perspective
The author, having performed his own analysis and taken into account the comparative material, proposes several ways to improve Russian environmental legislation. Changes in environmental requirements should come into force only after a substantial time frame has elapsed to prepare for their implementation, which should start no earlier than on the adoption of the sufficient set of by-laws that develop statutory provisions. When assessing the environmental impact of a planned economic activity, it is necessary to take into account the best practices of the European Union, where the environmental impact assessment that relates to specific objects is streamlined and differentiated from the strategic environmental assessment of urban planning schemes and other similar documents. Pollution charges should be more clearly delineated with liability, while the collected payments should be spent in a targeted way to restore and improve the environment. Targeted budget funds may serve as vehicles for spending, since extrabudgetary funds that operated in the past have shown insufficient efficiency. The legal basis for environmental oversight should be unified and the appropriate application of expert knowledge in its implementation should be ensured. Mechanisms for the recovery of environmental damage need substantial improvement: in particular, it is necessary to ensure that restoration and equivalent work that brings real results for the environment takes precedence over monetary penalties; to remove any restrictions on the recognition of work carried out on the initiative of the polluter; to increase the liability in case of frivolous refusal from performing such work. It is proposed to introduce self-regulation of environmental experts, to establish a procedure for the engagement of foreign environmental experts and for the recognition of their conclusions. Some procedural measures are also proposed, such as vesting jurisdiction over disputes on compensation for environmental damage and over the collection of appropriate fines exclusively with the courts of law at the place where damage is inflicted, as well as the publication of settlement agreements on environmental disputes before they are approved by the court. As a long-term objective, codification of environmental law is mentioned that implies generalization and concretization of rules related to protecting the environment.
environmental law, legal stability, environmental impact assessment, pollution charges, environmental regulatory supervision, environmental funds, environmental damage, self-regulation, codification
Articles of "Pravovedenie" are open access distributed under the terms of the License Agreement with Saint Petersburg State University, which permits to the authors unrestricted distribution and self-archiving free of charge.