The Ministry of Environment has recently opened a public debate on the draft law regarding the environmental impact of public and private projects (“Draft Law”). If passed, this Draft Law will replace the existing Government Decision No 445/2009. The aim of the Draft Law is to strengthen the quality of environmental impact assessments and to limit the negative effects that public and private projects might have on the environment on both national and international levels. The Draft Law defines a ‘project’ as “the execution of construction works and other installations or works; other interventions on the natural environment and the landscape, including those that include the exploitation of mineral resources”.

This Draft Law aims to bring Romanian legislation into alignment with European Union provisions regulating the effects that public and private projects might have on the environment. In the spirit of cooperation between European Union countries, and between European Union countries and non-European Union countries, in the environmental field, the Draft Law also imposes a duty on Romania to inform any country that might be affected by a project conducted in Romania. It also outlines the right of Romania to request, from any country of origin, information about a project that might affect the environment, population or health of the people in Romanian territory.

When projects might have significant effects on the environment, the procedure to assess the impact on the environment becomes an integrated part of the procedure for the issuance of development approval (in Romanian “aprobare de dezvoltare”). The process for assessing the impact on the environment includes specific steps, including a report on the project’s environmental impact prepared by certified experts. Each project will also be subject to consultancy proceedings and an assessment made by the Technical Analysis Commission.