Costa Rica

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EIA profile

Updated to: 27 June 2011

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EIA background

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Country contact on EIA

Contact details for the country contact on EIA.

Secretaría Técnica Nacional del Ambiente
Address: Barrio Escalante, de la Iglesia Santa Teresita 300 metros Norte y 175 metros Este; San José
Tel: (506) 2234-3420
http://www.setena.go.cr

Ministerio de Ambiente, Energía y Telecomunicaciones
Address: Avenida 8 y 10, calle 25.
Del Edificio de la Corte Suprema de Justicia 200 E, frente a la Iglesia Votivo Corazón de Jesús
Tel: (506) 2233 4533
http://www.minaet.go.cr/contactenos/

History of EIA

Brief description of the history of the EIA system in the country, including when it was introduced and any major milestones in its development.

The incorporation of Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) was made into The Mining Code of 1982. After that, in 1992 the obligation to make Environmental Impact Assessment Studies in Wild Life Refuges was established. In 1994 the first specific EIA Regulation (DE-23785) was promulgated, which included, for the first time, a categorization and screening list for activities, construction work and projects that should be submitted for environmental assessment. In 1995, with the Environmental Organic Law, EIA was established as an obligatory requirement for all activities that alter or destruct elements of the environment or generate waste, toxic or dangerous materials, including previous approval from the National Environmental Technical Secretariat (SETENA).

In 1996 through a new regulation (DE-23785), the EIA procedures were amplified and developed determining how to carry out the screening and scoping through a new categorization system, activity lists and Preliminary Environmental Assessment Form (FEAP);  it also regulated the mechanisms for an environmental guarantee, public participation and the functioning of environmental consultants registration.

Currently the Costa Rican Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) system is funded on the Costa Rican Political Constitution, the Environmental Organic Law and the General Regulation for the EIA Procedures of 2004.

Main Milestones
1982: Environmental Impact Assessment Studies are required for mining projects according to The Mining Code
1992: Environmental Impact Assessment Studies are required for developing projects in Wild Life Refuges (Executive Decree 21597)
1994: First specific EIA Regulation that determines the screening and scoping procedures.
1995: The approval of the Environmental Organic Law (LOA).
1995: EIA procedures are required for all activities that alter or destruct elements of the environment or generate waste, toxic or dangerous materials (LOA).
1996: Approval of a new EIA procedure that amplifies and develops the EIA Procedures according to Environmental Organic Law (LOA).
2004: Approval of the General Regulation for the EIA Procedures.

Year of introduction of EIA legislation

NB: this field is only meant for the world map. It is a hidden cell that is not published on the website. If available, mention the year when detailed national EIA regulations were issued. If such regulations do not exist and if EIA practice is base

1982

Mentioned in the Mining Code (Law No. 6797)

Legal framework for EIA

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Year of introduction of enabling law

Year when the enabling law for EIA was issued

The Legal frame is the Environmental Organic Law (Law No. 7554 of 1995).

1995

Approving authority of enabling law

Authority that approved the enabling law for EIA.

Legislative Assembly.

Year of introduction of first national detailed regulation for EIA

Year when when the first national detailed regulation (procedural requirements) through which EIA was operationalized.

The EIA procedures in Costa Rica are centralized in the National Environmental Technical Secretariat (SETENA), which is an agency of the Environment, Energy and Telecommunications Ministry (MINAET). Its fundamental objective consists in harmonizing the environmental impact of the productive processes. This agency is composed of the Plenary Commission, a General Secretary, which is part of the latter Commission and a Technical Administrative Unit.

Since 2004 the EIA procedures are regulated in the General Regulation for EIA procedures (Executive Decree 31849) and the Technical Instruments Manual for the EIA procedure, or the EIA Manual, approved by various Executive Decrees.

  • EIA Manual- Part I. Contains the instructions to complete the Initial Environmental Assessment Form for activities, construction work or projects from categories C and B2 in areas with a Regulatory Plan or D2 forms (Executive Decree 32079 of September 14, 2004, published in the official government Newspaper “La Gaceta” No. 217 on November 5, 2004).
  • EIA Manual- Part II.  Develops the guidelines to complete the Initial Environmental Assessment Form for activities, construction work or projects from categories A, B1 and B2 in areas without Regulatory Plans or D1 forms (Executive Decree 32712 of July 19, 2005, published in the official government Newspaper “La Gaceta” No. 223 on November 18, 2005).
  • EIA Manual- Part III.  Contains the guidelines to incorporate the environmental variable in the urban Regulatory Plans (Executive Decree 32967 of February 20, 2006, published in the official government Newspaper “La Gaceta” No. 85 on May 4, 2006).
  • EIA Manual- Part IV.  Describes the guidelines to carry out Environmental Management Plans (P-PGA). (Executive Decree 32966 of February 20, 2006, published in the official government Newspaper “La Gaceta” No. 85 on May 4, 2006).

2004

Sector specific procedures or regulations on EIA

Any existing sectoral procedural or content regulations are listed here, as well as the authority that issued each.

The current EIA regulation includes a list (Annex 1) of all the projects that according to international treaties, laws and specific regulations should comply with the EIA procedures.

Guidelines

Any government issued guidelines on EIA (general, or sectoral) are listed here, as well as the authority that issued each. Describe the legal status of the guidelines.

There exist several guidelines that develop and orientate the EIA procedures. The EIA manuals instruct on the elaboration of the Initial Environmental Assessment for projects on all categories of environmental significance and orient how to carry out an Environmental Management Plan (P-PGA) for projects of moderate environmental impact. (Executive Decrees DE-32079-2004, DE-32712-2005 y DE-32966). Guidelines to carry out environmental Impact Studies for high level impact projects are non existent apart from the terms of reference given by SETENA.

ISIC- International Standard Industry Classification.

The Guide of Best Environmental Practices (CBPA) contains environmental practices that all developers should comply with, regardless the environmental category that the activity, construction work or project is in, as a supplement to the environmental regulations in the country.

The ethical Code of the developer should be considered for all environmental consultants.

The Environmental Guide for Construction, official since July of 2008, is a technical instrument of reference, not obligatory, for the orderly and systematic planning and execution of environmental measurement, prevention, correction, mitigation, minimization and compensation for actions of the construction activity that may cause a significant effect on the environment. This Guide was elaborated by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the Central American Commission for Environment and Development (CCAD). SETENA is currently discussing the final version of this Guide for tourism and the agricultural sector.

Objective of EIA

The objective of EIA as stated in the above described legal basis.

The Environmental Impact Assessment is defined in the Regulation as  follows: “… the administrative scientific-technical procedure that permits to identify and to predict what effect an activity, construction work or project will exert on the environment, quantifying and weighing them to be able to make decisions “.

Scope of EIA application

Describes which types of activities require EIA (public and/or private activities; national and/or foreign initiated project; or all such projects)

According to the environmental law, all “… the human activities that alter or destruct elements of the environment or generate waste, toxic or dangerous materials, will require an environmental impact assessment”.
An EIA should be made if any activity, construction work or project is to be developed if:

  • It is found in the List that according to specific International treaties, laws and regulations require the EIA procedure (Annex 1 of the Executive Decree 31849).
  • New activities, construction works or projects are found in the List of activities, construction works or projects subject to the EIA procedure that no existing specific laws covers (Annex 2 of the Executive Decree 31849).

Additionally, projects are categorized into three levels (A, B and C), according to their potential environmental impact.

Exemptions from EIA application

Describes any (groups of) activities identified in the regulation that are exempted from the requirement to do EIA (e.g. military or emergency activities).

There is no mention of any exemptions from the EIA procedures in the Regulation.
However, there has already been a jurisprudential precedent emanated from the constitutional Court for “state needs” declared by the State. In 1997 it was declared “a state need through a decree to carry out  “maintenance activities” from the effects of Hurricane Cesar which exempted the administrative procedures including the one related to EIA.

Institutional setting for EIA

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Central EIA authority

Is there a central authority in charge of implementing EIA? Is it independent or linked to a higher body (e.g ministry)? What are its tasks related to EIA?

The central authority of the EIA system is the National Environmental Technical Secretariat (SETENA). It is an agency of the Ministry of Environment, Energy and Telecommunications (MINAET).
SETENA is divided into the following departments: General Secretary, Technical Advisory Unit, Initial Environmental Assessment Unit, Environmental monitoring and follow up Unit and the Jurisdictional Advisory Unit. There are two more units called Information and Planning and the Administration Unit.

Other key (governmental) parties involved in EIA, and their roles

Lists other key parties (e.g. a review commission, knowledge institute) that have a role in many or all EIAs.

There are no obligations in the regulation for SETENA to consult other institutions in the assessment of the Environmental Impact Studies. The following governmental entities participate, in one way or another, in the EIA procedure:

  • Ministry of Economy, Industry and Commerce - Establishes a list of productive activities according to ISIC.
  • Ministry of Health. It has a representative in the plenary Commission of SETENA. It establishes a list of productive activities according to ISIC subject to sanitary procedures. 
  • Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock. It has a representative in the plenary Commission of SETENA.
  • Costa Rican Tourist Institut. It has a representative in the plenary Commission of SETENA.
  • Costa Rican Institute of Electricity. It has a representative in the plenary Commission of SETENA.
  • Mixed Commission on Monitoring and Environmental Control (COMMA). It is a participative entity that controls and carries out environmental activity, construction work and projects of Category A that have been approved by EIA. The following governmental institutions, among other representatives of the private sector and civil society, form a part of this commission:
    • National Environmental Technical Secretariat
    • Environment, Energy and Telecommunications Ministry
    • Ministry of Health
    • Ministry of Public Works and Transportation
    • Ministry of Economy, Industry and Commerce
    • Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock
    • Costa Rican Institute of Electricity
    • Central American Commission on Environment and Development
    • Technical Secretary of the commission on regulatory improvement.

According to the EIA regulation the following non governmental entities participate, in one form or other in EIA procedure: 

  • Technical Advisory Commission of SETENA- Auxiliary advisory agency on environmental matters, integrated in a equilibrated manner by representatives from the Executive Power, private sector, NGOs, and environmental consultants. Its principal function is to give technical support to SETENA on EIA themes.
  • Accredited External Consultant- A physical or juridical person that is accredited by the Costa Rican Accrediting Agency (ECA) and can be contacted by SETENA for support in the EIA procedure.

Mandate for exemption of EIA obligation

Describes if there is a legal mandate for a competent authority to make exemptions of EIA obligation. And if yes, under which conditions (e.g. national security, disasters or no conditions/when deemed necessary).

There is no arrangement  for exemptions in the EIA procedures in the Regulation and therefore mandate is not indicated either

(De)centralisation of EIA mandates

Describes if EIA mandates are (de)centralised. Vertical decentralization refers to the extent to which the responsibility for EIA processes are delegated by the central government to the provincial or local authorities. Sectoral or horizontal decen

The central authority of the EIA system is the National Environmental Technical Secretariat (SETENA). However, decision making lies with the Plenary Commission represented by various State Institutions, such as the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock, Ministry of Water Works, Costa Rican Institute of Electricity and the Ministry of Health.

EIA procedure

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Screening

Screening requirement and authority

Describes if a formal screening decision required, and if so, which authority is responsible for this decision. Is this decision published?

The National Environmental Technical Secretariat (SETENA) uses two mechanisms to make a decision on whether a project should present an environmental assessment or not, and to assign the most adequate one based on its potential environmental impact:

  • the general categorization: A, B, C;
  • the initial environmental qualification or the initial environmental assessment. It is necessary to fill out the initial environmental assessment form D1 or D2.
Screening process

Describes the screening process: steps in screening, the stakeholders involved and outcomes of the process, status of screening advice of different stakeholders, etc. Also describes any prescribed methods for screening. If preliminary EIA's / light EIA's / Initial Environmental Evaluations (IEE) are done in this country and which criteria determine whether a preliminary or a full EIA is requested

It concerns the procedure used to analyze the initial environmental assessment instrument. According to the Regulation of EIA, EIA is “the procedure of analyzing the environmental characteristics of the activity, construction work or project, with respect to its location to determine its environmental impact significance. It involves the presentation of an environmental document signed by the developer, taking on the character of a judiciary oath. From its analysis, the granting of the environmental viability (license) can be derived or the conditioning of the same by presenting other instruments of the EIA”
At this phase the assessment office will determine the instrument that the project manager should implement, the general categorization is divided into the potential impact of the project: 

  • Category A: High Potential Environmental Impact.
  • Category B: Moderate Potential Environmental Impact ;
    • Category B1: Moderately High Potential Environmental Impact ;
    • Category B2: Moderately Low Potential Environmental Impact .
  • Category C: Low Potential Environmental Impact;

At this phase, the environmental assessment unit pre-evaluates each case and makes a decision on the environmental assessment instrument of each project. Depending on the projects impact, the instrument required can be an Environmental Impact Study (EsIA); an Environmental Management Plan (P-PGA) or a Jurisdictional Oath of Environmental Compromises (DICA). 

Provision for sensitive areas

Are specific requirements formulated for environmentally sensitive areas? (e.g. no minimum thresholds, full EIA instead of partial EIA)

Through executive decree 21597 in 1992, the presentation and assessment of Environmental Impact Studies for activities, construction works or projects to be developed within Wild Life Refuges were regulated.
Additionally, for classifying an initial environmental assessment, the List of Environmental Fragile Areas has to be taken into account, Annex 3 of the Regulation, to identify the environmental technical limits and promote changes in the project to remedy these.

Contents of the starting document

Describes the required content of the starting document (if any) that the proponent should submit to the competent authority for EIA screening. Mentions if the starting document is published.

The initial environmental assessment form D1 contains the following:

  • General information on the consultant, who is the legal representative of the project.
  • General information about the Project: geographic location, current phase, potential environmental impact and a certified statement on the amount of the investment.
  •  A Basic Technical study of the terrain.
  • Technical study on the geology of the ground.
  • A rapid Archeological study of the terrain.
  • Basic characterization on the project area and its area of influence.
  • Climatic data over the Project area.
  • Consumption and affection of water, soil energy and biotope.
  • Impact on water, air, soil and human beings. 
  • Risks involved with the management of fuels, radioactive material, agrochemicals and dangerous substances.
  • Safeguard about security and prevention of contaminants.
  • General information of the, construction work or project.

The initial environmental assessment form D1 contains the following:

  1. General information on the activity.
  2. General information on the administrative location and its geography.
  3. General information on the consultant, who is the legal representative of the project.
  4. General information about the Project: geographic location, current phase, potential environmental impact (ISIC) and a certified statement on the amount of the investment.
  5. Current basic environmental characterization on the area of influence.
  6. Relevant environmental aspects: consumption, impact, risks.
Timeline Screening

Maximum number of (working) days allowed between submission of the starting document and the screening decision.

Not defined.

Scoping

Scoping requirement

Is a formal scoping step required as part of the EIA process?

SETENA hands to the Developer the Terms of Reference founded on the Initial Environmental Assessment previously presented.

Scoping process

Describes who carries main responsibility to undertake scoping and what the roles and responsibilities of the involved parties during the process are. Specifically, is there independent formulation and/or review of the scoping document, approval of the scoping document? Are any methods prescribed, e.g. participation, checklists. What guidance is provided?

This phase corresponds to the formal revision of the Environmental Impact Assessment Instrument. The revision focuses on classifying the quality of the document to find out if it complies with:

  1. the formal and administrative aspects; 
  2. the minimum technical quality requirements and 
  3. the environmental sustainability of the project.  
Contents of the scoping document

Explains if there are there specific requirements for the content of the scoping document, and if so, what these are.

In the last stage of the initial phase, the assessment office communicates to the developer, by a written resolution stating the assessment instrument and the terms of reference that are needed to obtain the environmental viability of the project. Depending on the projects impact, the instrument required can be an Environmental Impact Study (EsIA); an Environmental Management Plan (P-PGA) or a Jurisdictional Oath of Environmental Compromises (DICA). 

Timeline scoping

Number of (working) days for the decision on approval of the scoping document by the competent authority.

Not specified.

Assessment and reporting

Assessment process

Steps and roles of stakeholders in the assessment and status of the input of the stakeholders. Also sets out methods for assessment of the environmental impacts of the activity, if prescribed, and whether the assessment covers environmental, social, economic and/or transboundary effects.

SETENA is in charge of analyzing the environmental assessment instruments. The interested third parties can also intervene in the assessment procedure and for this reason influence in the final decision making. At this time no official procedure exists to carry out the revision of the environmental assessment instruments. Generally an examiner is assigned for each project and he is the one who emits a technical report to the Plenary Commission for one last discussion on it.

Contents of the EIA report

Explains what should be contained in the EIA report. Specifies if a potential Environmental Management Plan is part of the EIA report or if it is a separate document that contributes to the EIA process.

The Environmental Management Plan (P-PGA) contains the following:

  1. Description of the project.
  2. The physical, biological and social medium.
  3. Identification of the significant impacts.
  4. Assessment of the significant impacts.
  5. Protocols of the environmental measurements.
  6. Environmental Management Plan.
  7. Contingency Plan.
  8. Control and Monitoring Plan.
  9. Synthesis of the environmental commitments.
  10. References and Annexes.

Along with other requirements of legal information, the Project description will have the following as found in Part IV of the Manual:

Description of the project.

  1. Description of the legal rules.
  2. Description of the physical medium.
  3. Description of the biological medium.
  4. Description of the social/economic environment.
  5. Environmental Diagnostic.
  6. Assessment of impacts and corrective measures, includes alternative analysis.
  7. Prognostic Plan of Environmental Management.
  8. Risk analysis and Contingency Plans.
  9. Financial and Economical Analysis.
  10. Other specific terms.
  11. Environmental Quality of the AP and its Biophysical and Social Area of influence (direct and indirect).
  12. The minimal professional equipment that should be used for the Study

Review

Review process

Overview of the review process, including: steps in the process and roles of the stakeholders, status of the input of the stakeholders. Is the process open to public? Review method: internal review, external review, panel/commission (permanent or temporary), are the review results documented? Are the review criteria general or case by case? Are the review results documented? Is a potential review

The revision focuses on assessing the quality of the document to see if it effectively complies with the formal and administrative aspects, the minimum requirements of technical quality and the environmental sustainability of the project. However, no public administrative procedure exists.
Depending on the head of the assessment office the following steps apply:

  • Assignment of a assessment examiner.
  • For projects in category A, a visit to the field is made before a technical report is issued.
  • The elaboration of a technical report.
  • The Plenary Commission revises the technical report and issues an administrative resolution.
Review expertise

Describes if the EIA is checked by external parties, and if so to what extent these represent required disciplines/expertise. Also sets out if measures have been taken to ensure that reviewers are impartial?

When SETENA considers it appropriate, it consults other governmental entities for their opinion.

Timeline Review

Number of (working) days for review of the EIA by the competent authority.

10 days. Projects in category C or B2 that lay within areas that have a regulatory plan, have a 4 week resolution period starting from the time of presentation of form D2.

Four weeks. Projects in category A, B1 or B2 that lay within areas without a regulatory plan have a 4 week resolution period starting from the time of presentation of form D1. This period could be extended to a maximum of 5 months more.

Decision-making

Integration of EIA into decision-making

Describes what kind of decision-making processes the EIA is intended to support. We look specifically at the decision on EIA approval, and how this relates to envirionmental approval for the project, and other project approval decisions (permits) needed before a project can proceed. This category describes which decisions are influenced by EIA and how they are linked to each other.

According to the EIA regulation, the assessment office of SETENA produces a technical report from the analysis made of the presented environmental assessment instrument. For the final decision making, this report is discussed in the Plenary Commission to issue an administrative resolution. In case this administrative resolution is favourable, it grants the viability or environmental license to the activity, construction work or project.

Competent authority

Describes which authority/authorities is/are responsible for each of the main decision-making processes on EIA (EIA approval, environmental approval and/or project approval). It is explained if those decisions are taken by the same or different authorities.

The Plenary Commission of SETENA, after analyzing the technical decisions made by the examiners, issues a verdict that is communicated through an administrative resolution to the proposer.

Decision publication

Does the decision (on EIA approval, environmental approval and/or project approval) have to be published? Also, is the decision justification published as well?

Through an administrative resolution. Additionally, the environmental viabilities are published on SETENA´s web site.

Timeline decision-making

Maximum number of (working) days available to the competent authority to make the EIA based decision (EIA approval, environmental clearance and/or project approval).

Not specified.

Monitoring, Compliance and Enforcement

Compliance monitoring

Is compliance monitoring required to check if the project is implemented as described in the EIA documents and/or if mitigation of environmental impacts complies with applicable standards and other measures set out in the EIA documents? Who is responsible for ensuring compliance? How does this authority ensure compliance (for example, through inspections)? And what requirements are there for the p

Environmental Regent: Contacted by the project proponent. According to RGEIA, this person is responsible for looking after the fulfillment of the environmental promises. The Environmental Regent’s obligation is to inform SETENA, as the national authority, on results of environmental monitoring of the project, activity or construction work. The Environmental Regent’s obligation is to have an environmental logbook that records the implemented details of the procedures or instructions defined for the project.

The Environmental Logbook:  An official notebook certified by SETENA in which The Environmental Regent records the implemented details of the procedures or instructions defined for the project.

Non-compliance penalties

Are there penalties that the authority responsible for compliance can apply if environmental conditions are not met? What are these? (for example, fines, suspension of license)

In case the Project manager does not comply with the environmental promises at any stage of the project, SETENA is can execute, totally or partially, the environmental guarantee, without detriment to other sanctions.

EIA evaluation

Are there any requirements to monitor if the impacts in reality are as they were predicted in the EIA, with the purpose of evaluating the EIA itself and improving future EIA practice?

According to Regulation, the elements for control and monitoring are: environmental field inspections, environmental inventories and environmental reports. The procedures for follow up on these are found in the Manual of Environmental Inventories and Monitoring Procedure.

This phase corresponds to the verification of the execution of the Environmental Management Plan in the implementation period of each project. It establishes if the actions taken from the criteria of environmental protection that govern the EIA procedure are effectively being taken into account, recognizing the area of influence and using the environmental norms in force. The importance of this phase lies in the assurance that the actions taken as well as the mitigation commitments along with the monitoring mechanisms and established controls are satisfactorily protecting the environment.    

At last recourse, in case that the project manager does not comply with the environmental commitments in whatever phase of the project, SETENA can execute, totally or partially, the environmental guarantee, without affecting other accredited sanctions. 

Payment system

Is the proponent required to pay a fee when applying for an EIA? Is this fee linked to a permitting fee, or separate? If yes, when is this paid and to whom (to the agency that issues the license or to a central agency)?

As indicated in the executive decree, a charge exists for this process that should be paid to a National Bank account. The amount to be paid is proportional to the amount of investment in the project.

Public participation

Public participation requirements for EIA process stages

Describes for which of the EIA process stages public participation is required.

SETENA, in accordance with Environmental Organic Law (LOA) establishes various mechanisms that manage public participation in the EIA procedures, such as:

  • including opinion polls in the Environmental Impact Study (EsIA) and including in some prognostics – an Environmental Management Plan (P-PGA) ;
  • elaboration of a summary of Environmental Impact Study (EsIA) called Environmental Impact Declaration (EID) that is given to the municipality where the project is located;
  • publication of the resumed information in a daily nationwide newspaper about the entrance of an Environmental Impact Study (EsIA) in the revision procedure of SETENA and the formal period during which the document may be revised and observations presented.

Along with these mechanisms, there also exists the possibility of developing public audiences on the subject. On the other hand, through the functioning of COMIMA, an important space for participation is opened during the control and tracing stages of the activity, construction work or project located in Category A with the Environmental Impact Study (EsIA) approved. As far as possible in this commission, there should be one representative from SETENA, one representative of the developer, one representative from the municipality and one representative from the community where the activity, construction work or project will be developed.

Public participation guidance

Has any guidance on participation been provided?

During 2009 the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the Central American Commission for Environment and Development (CCAD) elaborated a Good Practice for Citizen Participation; this was discussed with SETENA but it has not been formally launched yet.

Access to information

Which of the information that is generated in the EIA process is available to the public? Specifically, which reports and decision statements?

A summary of the Environmental Impact Study (EsIA) called Environmental Impact Declaration (EID) is given to the municipality where the project is located and it can be consulted there.

The resumed information is published in a daily nationwide newspaper about the entrance of an Environmental Impact Study in the revision procedure of SETENA and the formal period during which the document may be revised and observations presented.

Information dissemination

How can the public receive the information that is publicly available? Are there public announcement on the proceedings? How/where are these published? Is information made available locally? Is information sent on request? etc.

The Environmental Impact Studies (EsIA), the prognostics on the Environmental Management Plan (P-PGA) and the Jurisdictional Oaths of Environmental Compromises (DICA) can be consulted in the registry at SETENA. In addition there is a list published on the SETENA web site of the environmental viabilities granted by SETENA.

Timeline for public comments

The number of (working) days available for the public to make comments on the EIA decision document.

The Regulation does not establish them. They will be published in a press announcement.

Costs for public

Are there any specified costs public parties will incur if they partake in EIA?(e.g. costs for the receiving report, costs of losing an appeal, etc. Costs associated with travel to meetings or such are not included here)

They are not specified.

Public comments

What options do the public have to provide their comments. Should comments be written, or may they also be verbal? To which agency should they provide their submissions?

Every person, physical or judicial, public or private, has the right to be heard by SETENA, in accordance with Environmental Organic Law (LOA), at whatever stage in the assessment process and the operational stage of activities, construction work or project. The mechanisms for this are the following:

  • The writings that are presented to the SETENA offices.
  • The private audiences held with the Plenary Commission of SETENA and with any of its technical departments.
  • Public Audiences.
Public comments in decision-making

Do the EIA and/or project approval decisions have to be justified on the basis of public participation results? Do legal texts indicate how public participation results should be used and to which decision-making processses they should contribute?

The observations made are filed and valuated in the final report.

Legal recourse

Possibilities for appeal

What are the legal recourse options to challenge EIA decisions are provided for within the legal framework?

Opposition to decisions made by SETENA is applied following the regulatory recourses in the Contentious Administration Law.

A denouncement can be made against any authority, act or omission already done that generates contamination and deterioration or loss of natural resources or anything that effects the quality of life.

Decisions that can be appealed

Which EIA decisions can be appealed?

There are no decisions specified that cannot be appealed.

Who can appeal

Who can make an appeal (in other words, has legal standing)?

The proponent and citizens can appeal against decisions made by SETENA

EIA practice

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Annual no. of EIAs

Gives an estimation for the number of full EIAs that are produced annually in this country.

The total number of applications (D1 and D2) presented to SETENA:

  • 2006, 1326
  • 2007, 3951
  • 2008, 3522

Central EIA database

Is there a central database or library where information on EIAs is kept (i.e. where all EIAs are registered and/or copies are archived). If so, what is kept there and is this information publicly accessible?

A record is kept but not for public disclosure

Practice reviews

Any EIA practice review studies that have been done (by governmental agencies or others) are listed here. Where relevant, links to studies are included, and the main conclusions of the studies are summarised.

No information available.

 

Accreditation of consultants

Is there and accreditation system operational in the country to certify consultants to do EIAs?

Consulting companies should register with The Registry of Consultants in SETENA.

Capacity development

Ongoing training programmes (including professional and academic training) and major training events held in the past (with focus on recent events) are mentioned here.

Training (material) was provided/developed by the Technical committee on Environmental Impact Assessment of Central America and various international institutions and/or based on bilateral cooperation.

EIA links

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Links to laws/regulation

Any relevant links to laws or regulations are included here.

  • Costa Rican Jurisdictional Information System (SCIJ)
    http://www.pgr.go.cr/Scij/
  • Legal norms from the of The Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) System of SETENA.
    http://www.setena.go.cr/p_documentos.h
  • Ministry of Environment, Energy and telecommunications
    http://www.minaet.go.cr
  • Granted Viabilities
    http://www.setena.go.cr/p_documentos_informes.htm
    http://www.ccad.ws/legislacion/cosarica.html

Other relevant links on EIA

Any other relevant links (for example to country specific guidance documents) are included here.

  • Center for Environmental Rights and Natural Resources (CEDARENA)
    http:/www.cedarena.org
  • Work Group for Environmental Impact Assessment of Central America
    http://www.eia-centroamerica.org/