This project aims at exploring how to apply Environmental Impact Assessment Act Article 8, especially the requirement provides that “the likelihood of significant impact on the environment”. Although Article 19 of the Administrative Regulation Related to the Application of Environmental Impact Assessment Act provides 8 specific situations, the courts take hard look doctrine to review those judgements made by expert committee in the EIA process. The courts often argue that the EIA resolutions are illegal because they contain judgement flaws or abuse of judgement. The concepts of “the likelihood of significant impact on the environment” are so vague that the administrative courts suggest the Environmental Protection Agency should propose or establish a clear identification method to make those requirements more concrete than before. Therefore, this project made a comprehensive survey, including the legislation history of EIA Act, similar Acts of foreign countries, EIA reports done by developers, EIA resolutions, and judicial judgements.
This project analyzed 158 cases relating to whether the second phase of EIA is necessary to be done. It was found that most of their considerations included significantly adverse influences on environmental resources or environmental characteristics, obviously exceeded the environmental quality standards and exceeded tolerant capacity of local environment. However, it is difficult to generalize a conclusion from a quantitative perspective. On the other hand, this project also reviewed over 44 judgements done by administrative courts. It was found that many judges emphasized the due process of law, well-reasoned, the procedural rights of local citizens to participate the EIA, the complicated relations between EIA resolutions and section 1 article 93 of the Administrative Procedural Act, and whether the resolutions of EIA were based on the record of the meeting. After summarizing all the analysis coming from reviewing EIA resolutions and judgements done by administrative courts, this project established common and specific criteria for general application of the EIA cases. Because quantitative factors are difficult to comply with all scientific verification requirements, this project suggested that it may be proper to adopt the bases set by the amendment of Administrative Regulation of EIA firstly and refer to the criteria secondly.
Based on pragmatic research methods, many dialogues between legal professors and scientific scholars and opinions collected from the public, this project establish “CRITERIA Related to the Likelihood of Significant Impact on the Environment for Judgement of EIA Committee. The outcome of this project may become an effective guideline for the EPA, and experts of EIA Committee. The response of the administrative courts is noteworthy.