Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is the assessment of the environmental consequences (positive and negative) of a plan, policy, program, or actual projects prior to the decision to move forward with the proposed action. In this context, the term “environmental impact assessment” (EIA) is usually used when applied to actual projects by individuals or companies and the term “strategic environmental assessment” (SEA) applies to policies, plans and programmes most often proposed by organs of state. Environmental assessments may be governed by rules of administrative procedure regarding public participation and documentation of decision making, and may be subject to judicial review. The purpose of the assessment is to ensure that decision makers consider the environmental impacts when deciding whether or not to proceed with a project.

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