1. Contents of rehabiliating, restoring and deposit for environmental rehabilitation and restoration in mineral mining activities
Environmental rehabilitation and restoration and payment deposit for environmental rehabilitation and restoration in mineral mining activities is an important element of the LEP to conserve mineral resources of the country. They are stipulated in 7 articles, from Article 4 to 10. According to these articles, all individuals and organizations involved in mining shall prepare measures for environmental rehabilitation and restoration and deposit payment for environmental rehabilitation and restoration. These measures shall be taken right during the mining processes. For new mining investment projects, these measures shall be developed and appraised before mining permits are issued. Existing projects which fail to have these measures in place shall be subject to administrative penalties and requested to submit their measures to competent authorities for appraisal before 31 December 2016. Projects with approved rehabilitation and restoration measures but failing to implement these measures within 24 months after receiving approvals shall have to resubmit for new appraisals.
To be consistent with mineral regulations, the Decree details authorities for appraising and approving the measures and updated measures as follows. Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MONRE) shall implement appraisal and approval of the measures/updated measures for projects of which mining permits are issued by MONRE. Provincial People’s Committees (PPC) shall implement appraisal and approvals of the measures/updated measures for projects whose mining permits are issued by PPC.
Deposit for environmental rehabilitation and restoration has been implemented for the last seven years (since 2008). Regulations on this aspect have been updated to increase feasibility and ensure the objectives of using the deposit effectively. A proper process of deposit payment includes regulated amounts of deposit, payment mechanisms, interest rates and handling the deposit and interest in case enterprises go bankrupt.
The Decree also stipulates verification of environmental rehabilitation and restoration programs completion. The verification can be for the whole program or for each completed part of the program. To ensure consistency with mining regulations and simplifying administrative procedures, the Decree also stipulates the process of verifying the updated measures during the completion of the mining works. The decision for closing a mine includes verification of completion of updated measures. This decision can be used as verification for completion of updated measures.
The difference between Decree 19/2015/ND-CP and previous regulations (Decision 18/2013/QD-TTg) is that the former one stipulates a transition period for appraisals by provincial people’s committees on verification of updated measures completion. More specifically, individuals and organizations who have paid deposit before Decision 71/2008/QD-TTg took effects but whose measures of environmental rehabilitation and restoration are not in line with the LEP 2014 and the Decree shall need to redo and resubmit for approval before 31 December 2016.
2. Soil pollution control
Soil pollution control is a new content regulated in Article 61, the LEP 2014 and specified in Articles 11-14 of Decree 19/2015/ND-CP. The contents comprise identification, inventory, assessment and control of soil pollution risks; soil pollution control in production, trade and service facilities; soil remediation in public sites, wartime contaminated sites, pesticide stockpiles and other hazardous substances, and responsibilities of relevant authorities.
Control of soil pollution hazards shall begin from prevention and mitigation of environmental impact from source. Once pollution signs appear, close supervision and timely treatment shall be carried. MONRE shall lead and cooperate with other ministries and localities to review and submit to Prime Minister for issuing lists of production, trade and service facilities having potential soil pollution which need close supervision; and to provide guidance on inventory, evaluation and identification of prevention and control measures for soil pollution hazards.
Production, trade and service facilities shall take measures for soil pollution control. Facilities having high soil pollution risks are waste treatment facilities, mining, and facilities using chemicals which are subject to discharge monitoring listed by MONRE as regulated in Point 2, Article 121 LEP. These facilities shall conduct regular soil monitoring and report to environmental authorities, assess soil environment quality for each type of soil with verification from competent authorities on soil types of residential and commercial purposes, and inform land users when converting land use purposes.
To protect rights of land users and ensure appropriate use of clean land, the Decree stipulates that when transferring land use rights, receivers shall have rights to request transferring parties to provide information on soil environment in the given land.
To clarify responsibilities between state, organizations and individuals in contaminated site remediation, Decree 19/2015/ND-CP identifies the contaminated sites which are subject to state responsibilities. In this case, provincial people’s committees shall develop plans for remediation and submit to MONRE for appraisal and approval. When individuals and organizations want to remediate the contaminated sites and use for another purposes, they shall prepare plans for environmental remediation to submit to provincial people’s committee for appraisal, approval and verification of completion of remediation before using the land. Information on soil environment in wartime chemical contaminated sites, pesticide stockpile and other toxic chemicals shall be shared with relevant organizations and individuals.
To control soil pollution, the Decree specifies management mandates of MONRE, Ministry of Defense, Ministry of Public Affairs and provincial people’s committees.
3. Environmental protection in traditional craft villages
Environmental regulations on traditional craft villages are stipulated in the LEP 2005. However, in which, distinction is not made between facilities needing promoted and other ordinary production, trade and service facilities in traditional craft villages, and between traditional craft villages needing promoted and those are merely sites for production, trade and services. Therefore, implementation of policies for promoting traditional craft villages faced difficulties.
Environmental protection in traditional craft villages is regulated in Articles 15 - 21 with clear division of management and control of sectors and traditional craft villages receiving promotion. A list of facilities receiving promotion in traditional craft village is in Annex 1 of the Decree shall be revised and updated to reflect appropriate changes in different periods. Traditional craft villages receiving promotion are those with more than 20% facilities belonging to the list in Annex 1. Those facilities in the list have fewer legal responsibilities than ordinary ones. Traditional craft villages receiving promotion are eligible for investment fund from state budget for building environmental protection works and receive financial support, human resource development, product promotion and other types of support.
The Decree also stipulates traditional craft village management responsibilities of people’s committees at different levels and of MONRE and reporting mechanisms.
4. Environmental protection in importing and dismentalling used ships
The Decree has Articles 22 - 24 stipulating environmental protection requirements for used ship dismantling and importing facilities, and responsibilities of management authorities.
Used ship dismantling facilities shall make environmental impact assessment reports and submit to MONRE for appraisal and approval. They shall apply environmental management standards TCVN ISO 14001, have adequate human, technological and financial capacity, and make an environmental protection plan for each dismantled ship to submit to MONRE for approval.
For imported ships, they shall need certificates of compliance with national environmental technical regulations issued by a competent organization.
In environmental protection of ship dismantling activities, MONRE shall be responsible for supervising and guiding implementation and appointing verifying organizations. Ministry of Transport and relevant ministries shall cooperate with MONRE in enforcing environmental regulations. Within their mandates, provincial people’s committees shall supervise and monitor environmental compliance in ship dismantling activities.
5. Verifying environmental management systems
Verifying environmental management systems is a new regulation stipulated at Point 3, Article 68 LEP and detailed in Articles 25 - 30.
Production, trade and service facilities generating a large amount of waste and posing high environmental risks shall be subject to verification of environmental management systems. They are in Annex 2 of the Decree. This list has 19 types of facilities which have scale and nature similar to those under MONRE’s approval for EIA. The list shall be reviewed and updated periodically.
Facilities having effective certificates of TCVN ISO 14001 shall not need verification of environmental management systems but they shall send reports to competent authorities (MONRE, Ministry of Defense, and Ministry of Public Securities) on their compliance with environmental management systems.
Existing facilities shall be responsible for implementing verification in a 12 month period, from 1/4/2015 to 1/4/2016. New facilities shall have verification within 12 - 24 months since starting their operations.
Verification of environmental management systems shall be valid in 5 years and issued by Ministry of Defense and Ministry of Public Securities for facilities under these ministries’ management. MONRE issues verification for other facilities.
6. Issurance of environmental damage liabilities
To specify Point 3, Article 167 LEP 2014, the Decree stipulates that organizations and individuals having production, trade and services with high environmental damage risks shall buy insurance of environmental damage liabilities or establish contingent funds. These facilities include those with oil and gas related operation; chemical, petroleum production and trade; using special ships for transporting crude oil and other dangerous goods in Viet Namese ports and seas; and storing, transporting and treating hazardous waste. The organizations and individuals shall be specified in a list of environmental damage liability insurance issued by MONRE with close cooperation with Ministry of Finance and other ministries. The establishment of contingent funds shall be regulated by Ministry of Finance.
7. Dealing with seriously polluting facilities
Regulations on dealing with seriously polluting facilities are developed to legalize Prime Minister’s Decision 64/2003/QD-TTg. This is stipulated in Article 104 of the LEP and specified in Articles from 33 to 36 in the Decree. These articles specify principles and bases for identifying seriously polluting facilities; lists of seriously polluting facilities and pollution treatment measures; procedures and protocols of issuing lists of seriously polluting facilities; and publicizing seriously polluting facilities and pollution treatment measures.
Seriously polluting facilities shall be identified based on national environmental technical regulations and levels of pollution, following criteria of seriously polluting facilities issued by MONRE.
After being fined, except in case of being ceased operation, seriously polluting facilities shall be put in the list and imposed pollution treatment measures with deadlines. The pollution treatment measures include relocation, rehabilitation, upgrading or developing new waste treatment systems and restoring environmental conditions.
8. Preferential treatment and support for environmental protection
The regulations include principles for preferential treatment and support; subjects of preferential treatment and support; support for infrastructure investment; preferential land for relocated seriously polluting facilities; favor in funding mobilization; preferential treatment of export and import tax, income tax, value added tax; price subsidy of environmental protection services and products; product consumption; product advertisement support; waste segregation at source and environmental prizes.
The Decree has a new content on public procurement of environmentally friendly products. Article 47 Decree 19/2015/ND-CP stipulates that heads of organization using state budget shall be responsible for public procurement of environmentally friendly products having Viet Nam Green Labels issued by MONRE, recycled products having competent authority verification; certified biogas and diesel, bio coal, wind power, solar power, geo power, tide power and other renewable power. This regulation is aimed at promoting cleaner production and production and consumption of environmentally friendly goods. For its implementation, Ministry of Finance shall lead and cooperate with MONRE in developing regulations on public procurement of environmentally friendly products.
9. Community participation in environmental protection
To promote roles of community in environmental protection, the LEP 2014 has Article 146 stipulating community’s rights and obligations. These are specified in 5 articles, Articles 50 - 54 on representatives of community, providing information for community, consultation with and supervision by community, evaluation of enterprises’ environmental performance, and development of community based environmental protection models to provide legal bases for promoting community participation in environmental protection.
In these regulations, community shall have rights to select organizations or individuals as its representatives in public meetings. Environmental authorities and production, trade and service facilities shall be responsible for providing community with environmental information at least once a year. Based on the supplied information, community or its representatives shall evaluate environmental performance of production, trade and services. Community shall have rights to be consulted with about environmental policies during development of legal documents and environmental indicators. Community shall have rights in monitoring public investment in environmental protection in compliance with public investment regulations. Community is encouraged in developing and implementing community based environmental and natural resource management, sustainable development, wise use and conservation of natural resources and climate change responses.
To support community in having its rights and obligations, the Decree stipulates that state authorities shall be responsible for providing environmental information for community, consult with community when making decision on environmental policies and regulations, receiving and processing community feedback, guiding and issuing policies of encouraging community participation, wise use and conservation of natural resources and sustainable production and consumption models.
Hoang Minh Son, Deputy Director
Le Thi Minh Anh,
Policy and Legislation Department
Vietnam Environment Administration