Printer Friendly

Rating environmental impact studies.

Many governments withhold their approval of projects, funding or regulatory permits for activities that might adversely affect the environment, until they have formally obtained and reviewed an assessment that predicts the new project or activity threatens little environmental harm. However, few attempts have been made to audit the reliability of forecasts contained in these environmental assessments. In fact, Ralf C. Buckley says his new analysis of Australia's track record with environmental assessments represents "the first national-scale audit for any country." And in the recently released May AMBIO, he concludes that "in Australia at least...improvement is clearly needed."

Buckley, director of the Center for Environmental Management at Bond University in Brisbane, reports that adequate monitoring data exist to test the predictions contained in only about 3 percent of the roughly 1,000 Australian environmental impact statements generated to date. He analyzed the approximately 200 major and 175 subsidiary predictions and focused on those 68 that proved the most pivotal. Forecasts in this small but important subset proved "less than 50 percent accurate on average and [occasionally missed the mark by] over two orders of magnitude," he says.

Primary predictions such as those describing anticipated air or water emissions proved more accurate (52 percent) than secondary predictions such as those forecasting air or water quality (39 percent). Only 33 percent of the analyzed predictions proved more severe than actual impacts; 53 percent proved less severe.
COPYRIGHT 1991 Science Service, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1991, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Title Annotation:evaluation of Australia's environmental assessments
Publication:Science News
Date:Jul 27, 1991
Previous Article:Shaking up powder physics.
Next Article:Tobacco researchers say smoking harms.

Related Articles
EPM: fallout over a naval EMPRESS.
Measurable objectives for local environmental health programs.
Major issues in the environmental health decision-making process.
Beyond Regulatory Compliance.
Allee: environmental reviews assess more than air and water.
Evaluation and Use of Epidemiological Evidence for Environmental Health Risk Assessment: WHO Guideline Document.
Some Considerations Concerning Multimedia-Multipollutant Risk Assessment Methodology: Use of Epidemiologic Data for Non-Cancer Risk Assessment in...
Australia's University Courses: Are They Meeting the Educational Expectations of the National Environment: Health Strategy?
EPA Approves IPC/EIA Proposal.
Mexican truckers score huge victory in Supreme Court.

Terms of use | Copyright © 2016 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters