Provisions related to environmental impact assessment (EIA) began appearing in developing countriesʹ legislation during the 1970s, shortly after the US enacted the first national EIA law, the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) of 1969. However, this legislation was not provided in Chile until 1994, and its regulation was just provided in April 1997. Chile, located in the southwest part of South America, is a developing country that has a growing industry and increasing urban activity. In the last few decades, great projects have been proposed and evaluated with economic and technical criteria, but with little consideration for environmental implications. Even though these projects caused significant ecological impacts, Chile is one of the countries that only most recently implemented environmental legislation. Although some of Chileʹs environmental regulations were based upon US NEPAʹs process, Chileʹs regulations show important differences to NEPAʹs. Some differences improve the Chilean process, and others worsen it. Among the most important differences between the processes are preparation of the environmental documents, public participation, and the study of alternatives including the proposed action. However, legal interpretations of some aspects of both Acts are quite different. The main purposes of this article are to show a preliminary analysis of how EIA is developing in Chile, to discuss main differences with US NEPA, and to propose certain measures that could be taken to improve its performance.
US EIA , environment , NEPA , Environmental Impact Assessment , Impact evaluation , Chile EIA