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Environmental Impact Assessment in China and the United States: A Comparison

January 2017

Citation: 47 ELR 10067

Issue: 1

Author: Nicholas C. Yost and Xiaoke Zhang

Environmental impact assessment (EIA) is a fundamentally important part of the legal systems in both the United States and China. In this Article, the authors compare and contrast the development of EIA in the two countries, including (1) an introduction to EIA in China, (2) the U.S. experience with EIA, (3) challenges to EIA in China, and (4) the latest development of EIA in China. They conclude that with a series of proactive actions taken by the Chinese Ministry of Environmental Protection, 2015-16 has been a milestone in the development of the EIA process in China. However, many provisions of the Chinese regulations and documents are too general to be enforced and should be further consolidated by additional rulemaking.

Nicholas C. Yost is a retired partner in Dacheng Dentons, where he co-chaired the firm’s environmental and natural resource practice. Xiaoke (Oliver) Zhang is a senior partner in Jincheng Tongda & Neal, where he specializes in various energy projects (both conventional and renewable energy) and environmental matters.

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