March 30th, 2012
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Posco’s environment clearance suspended

posco-steelNew Delhi: The National Green Tribunal has suspended the environment clearance given to Posco’s mega steel project that was granted clearence in January 2011. The project will remain suspended till the environment ministry reviews it afresh.

“The environment clearance granted on January 31, 2011 to the project shall remain suspended till such review and appraisal is done by the ministry,” a bench of tribunal comprising Justice C V Ramulu and Devendra Kumar Agarwal held.

The National Green Tribunal noted, “Environment clearance stands quashed, fresh terms of reference must be issued.” The bench said the appointment of Meena Gupta as chairman of the committee to review the environmental clearance showed “departmental bias”.”The Environment Impact Assessment report does not take into account the fact that majority of the members who were appointed by Jairam Ramesh had rejected the environment clearance,” the Tribunal added.

The tribunal pointed out that memorandum of understanding between the Orissa government and Posco states that the project is for production of 12 million tonnes of steel per annum (MTPA) but the environment impact assessment (EIA) report has been prepared only for 4 MTPA steel productions in the first phase.

It said the MoEF should take “policy decision” that in projects of such magnitude the EIA should be done for the complete project.”The EIA should assess it for the full capacity right from the beginning,” it said. The tribunal directed the MoEF to review the clearance afresh and attach “specific conditions” which Posco would have to follow in a “defined timeline”. It also directed the MoEF to set up a special committee to “monitor the compliance to the environment clearance” thus granted. Posco will now have to go back to the Environment Ministry and stand in line for a licence all over again.




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