EIA Country Report for Korea

Legal Framework
State, Country or Province: 
Korea
EIA law: 
Environmental Impact Assessment Act (English translation)
EIA Regulations: 
Presidential Decree No. 22702: Enforcement Decree of the Environmental Impact Assessment Act
EIA Guidelines or Other Guidance: 
Korea Environmental Policy Bulletin - Environmental Impact Assessment
EIA Procedure
Projects Requiring EIA: 
Government projects
Projects Requiring EIA: 
Private projects
Abridged Assessments: 
Yes
Assessments Detail: 
"[A] project operator . . . may request the head of the approval agency or the Minister of Environment to determine as to whether the project . . . falls under the assessment of environmental impacts subject to simplified procedures as prescribed by Article 31." EIA Act Art. 30(1) & Art. 31.
Best Practices in Lieu of EIA: 
No
Who Conducts Screening: 
Developer
Who Conducts Screening Detail: 
See EIA Act Art. 4(1) (listing projects subject to EIA procedures)
Criteria for Screening: 
List or appendix of project or activity types
Criteria for Screening: 
Other
Criteria for Screening Detail: 
Screening is achieved primarily by reference to a list of project types. See EIA Act Art. 4(1). Additional details on the scope of projects subject to environmental impact assessment are provided in Table 1 of Presidential Decree 22702. This table is reproduced on pp. 12-13 of Korea Environmental Policy Bulletin on Environmental Impact Assessment. (xxx) Projects that fall outside of EIA Act may be subject to environmental impact assessment under Municipal Ordinance of City/Do. See EIA Act Art. 5(1).
Who Prepares EIA: 
Project Proponent (with or without contractor)
Who Prepares EIA Detail: 
"Where a project operator intends to execute an assessment of environmental impacts, he/she shall draw up an assessment plan of environmental impacts . . . ." EIA Act Art. 10(1).
Who Pays for EIA: 
Project Proponent
Who Pays for EIA Detail: 
Neither the EIA Act nor Presidential Decree 22702 specify who is responsible for paying the cost of preparing the EIA. The project proponent prepares the EIA (EIA Act, Art. 10); therefore, it is assumed that the project proponent also pays for the assessment.
EIA Contractor Qualifications: 
Yes
EIA Contractor Qualifications Detail: 
"Any person who intends to execute the assessment of environmental impacts for other person . . . shall prepare the technical abilities, facilities and equipment . . . and register with the Minister of Environment as an agent for assessment of environmental impacts." EIA Act Art. 35. See also Art. 36 (additional qualifications/exclusions)
Conflict of Interest: 
Yes
Conflict of Interest Detail: 
EIA contractors that provide false information, copy information from another assessment report, or lend their certification to a person not qualified to prepare an assessment may have their registration canceled. EIA Act, Arts. 37, 39.
Terms of Reference (TOR): 
Yes
Terms of Reference Detail: 
A project proponent must prepare an "assessment plan." EIA Act, Art. 10(1). An assessment plan "shall include matters under the following subparagraphs: 1. Objects and a summary of a project subject to environmental impact assessment; 2. Areas subject to environmental impact assessment; 3. Items to be assessed and methods of assessment; . . . ." Presidential Decree 22702, Art 6.
Days for Decisionmaker Review: 
45 days (may be extended to 60 days
Automatic Approval: 
No
Automatic Approval Detail: 
There are no provisions in the EIA Act or Presidential Decree addressing this issue.
Written Decision Detail: 
Neither the EIA Act nor the Presidential Decree require a written decision to be issued.
Authority to Impose Conditions: 
Yes
Authority to Impose Conditions Details: 
It appears there may be authority to impose conditions through the plan of operation. See EIA Act Art. 18(2).
Expiry of Decision: 
Not specified
Financial Assurances or Bond: 
No
EIA Content
Interdisciplinary Team: 
No
Interdisciplinary Team Detail: 
There are no provisions addressing this issue in the EIA Act or Presidential Decree 22702
Range of Alternatives: 
Yes
Range of Alternatives Detail: 
It could be argued that at least one alternative must be presented in the EIA. See Presidential Decree 22702, Art. 12(1)(7)(d)(EIA must include "establishment of an alternative plan and assessment")
No Action Alternative: 
No
No Action Alternative Detail: 
There are no provisions addressing this issue in the EIA Act or Presidential Decree 22702
Type(s) of Impact Analysis: 
Direct environmental impacts
Type(s) of Impact Analysis: 
Social impacts
Type(s) of Impact Analysis: 
Economic impacts
Mitigation: 
Yes
Mitigation Detail: 
The EIA must include a discussion of "[u]navoidable environmental impacts and countermeasures for them . . . ." Presidential Decree 22702, Art. 12(1)(7)(c)
Monitoring Plans: 
Yes
Monitoring Plans Detail: 
The EIA must include a discussion of "[a] plan for investigation of environmental impact after the fact . . . ." Presidential Decree 22702, Art. 12(1)(7)(c)
Access to Information
Public Notice of Draft EIA: 
Yes
Draft EIA Available: 
Yes
Draft EIA Available Detail: 
The head of the competent Si/Gun/Gu shall, if there are no special reasons, such as natural disasters, etc., publicly announce [the availability of a draft assessment in] one daily newspaper or more published for distribution all over the country and one daily newspaper or more published mainly for distribution in the relevant area one time or more respectively within ten days from the date when a draft of a written assessment has been received . . . and offer them to the public perusal of residents, etc. of the area (hereinafter referred to as "residents") to be affected by implementation of the relevant project for at least 20 days up to 60 days . . . ." Presidential Decree 22702, Art. 14(1).
Draft EIA Locations: 
Internet
Draft EIA Locations: 
Other
Fee to View EIA Documents: 
No
Fee to Obtain EIA Documents: 
No
Availability of Reference Studies: 
Yes
Availability of Reference Studies Detail: 
The EIA must include "[r]eferenced materials at the time of preparation" in an appendix. Presidential Decree 22702, Art. 12(1)(8)
Public Notice of Final Decision: 
No
Public Notice of Final Decision Detail: 
There are no provisions in the EIA Act or Presidential Decree specifically requiring officials to disclose "details of consultation" (their examination of the EIA + decision) to the public.
Public Participation
Public Scoping: 
Yes
Public Scoping Detail: 
A project developer will hold a meeting to consider the inhabitants' opinions and, if the project is located particular areas, including those with a "high conservational value," the project developer will solicit a broader range of opinions, including specialized agencies and people living outside the area impacted by the proposed project. EIA Act Art. 14, sec. 3.
Public Review of TOR: 
No
Public Review of TOR Detail: 
Although the public does not have an opportunity to review and comments on the assessment plan, "[t]he deliberative committee on assessment plans may consider the opinions of inhabitants of the area, etc. where it is recognized as necessary for deliberation concerning the items of assessment and its scope, etc." EIA Act Art. 12(2).
Public Participation Opportunities: 
Scoping
Public Participation Opportunities: 
Review of draft EIA
Public Participation Opportunities: 
Public meetings and/or public hearings
Public Meetings: 
Yes
Public Meetings Detail: 
"When a projector operator intends to formulate an assessment report, he/she shall . . . hold an explanatory meeting or a public hearing, etc. to consider the opinions of inhabitants in the area to be affected by the execution of a project subject to the assessment of environmental impacts . . . and include their opinions in the contents of the assessment report. In such case, if there is a request by the inhabitants in the coverage prescribed by Presidential Decree, a public hearing shall be held." EIA Act Art. 14(1). A business operator shall hold an explanatory meeting . . . within ten days from the beginning date of the period for the public perusal of a draft of a written assessment. Presidential Decree 22702, Art. 17(1).
Public Input at Meeting: 
Yes
Public Input at Meeting Detail: 
Project proponents are required to collect and consider public opinions; therefore it is assumed that members of the public are permitted to make comments or provide information during public meetings. See EIA Act, Art. 14.
Criteria to Hold Public Meeting: 
Members of the public must request a meeting and/or hearing
Days for Public to Review Draft EIA: 
20-60 days
Public Comments on Draft EIA: 
Yes
Public Comments on Draft EIA Detail: 
The head of the competent Si/Gun/Gu shall, if there are no special reasons, such as natural disasters, etc., publicly announce [the availability of a draft assessment in] one daily newspaper or more published for distribution all over the country and one daily newspaper or more published mainly for distribution in the relevant area one time or more respectively within ten days from the date when a draft of a written assessment has been received . . . and offer them to the public perusal of residents, etc. of the area (hereinafter referred to as "residents") to be affected by implementation of the relevant project for at least 20 days up to 60 days . . . ." Presidential Decree 22702, Art. 14(1).
Public Comments on Final EIA: 
No
Response to Public Comments: 
Yes
Response to Public Comments Detail: 
Public opinions must be reflected in the EIA. EIA Act Arts. 12(2), 14(1), (3); Presidential Decree 22702 Art. 14.(1)
Facilitation of Public Participation: 
No
Judicial Review/Enforcement
Citizen Administrative Review: 
No
Citizen Administrative Review Detail: 
It appears this option is only available to the project developer or head of the approval agency. "The project operator or the head of the approval agency may, if he/she has an objection to the details of consultation notified under Article 18, file an objection to the Minister of Environment as prescribed by Presidential Decree. In such cases, the project operator who is required to obtain approval, etc. shall file an objection through the head of the approval agency." EIA Act Art. 20, sec. 1.
Citizen Judicial Review: 
Yes
Citizen Judicial Review Detail: 
There may be opportunities for judicial review of administrative action through the Administrative Litigation Act (available at http://www.moleg.go.kr/english/korLawEng?pstSeq=52671)
Project Monitoring: 
Yes
Project Monitoring Detail: 
The project developer must "implement details of consultation . . . and environmental conservation plans . . . reflected in the plans of operation for projects, etc. while he/she is executing such projects subject to the assessment of environmental impacts." Project developers must maintain a record of implementation conditions in a ledger at the project site. EIA Act, Art. 23. Moreover, "[t]he head of the approval agency shall ascertain whether a project operator who is required to obtain approval, etc. implements the details of consultation." EIA Act, Art. 26
Enforceability of EIA: 
Yes
Enforceability of EIA Detail: 
If officials fail to diligently monitor compliance with the details of consultation, it may be possible to bring a claim under the Administrative Litigation Act for affirmation of illegality of an omission. See Administrative Litigation Act (available at http://www.moleg.go.kr/english/korLawEng?pstSeq=52671)
Enforceability of Permit: 
Yes
Enforceability of Permit Detail: 
If officials fail to diligently monitor compliance with the details of consultation, it may be possible to bring a claim under the Administrative Litigation Act for affirmation of illegality of an omission. See Administrative Litigation Act (available at http://www.moleg.go.kr/english/korLawEng?pstSeq=52671)
   Updated 2 Aug, 2016