Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 23rd 2015 Contents Tuesday, June 23, 2015 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
WHAT IS THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT ACT?
The Environmental Management Act, 35;05 of the Laws of the Republic of Trinidad
and Tobago hereinafter called the EM Act is an umbrella piece of legislation, the objec-
tives of which include the promotion and encouragement among all persons of a better
understanding and appreciation of the environment, the integration of environmental
concerns into private and public decisions, the development and effective implementa-
tion of laws, policies and other programmes for the conservation and wise use of the
environment for meeting the needs of present and future generations and enhancing the
legal, regulatory and institutional framework for environmental management.
The EM Act, among other things, establishes the Environmental Management Au-
thority and the Environmental Commission, the EC.
The establishment and jurisdiction of the EC is contained in section 81 of the EM Act.
The EM Act provides for a basic framework for the regulation of certain activities
with the potential to cause pollution, as well as certain classes of pollution including;
Noise pollution and hazardous and non-hazardous wastes.
It also allows for the protection of specifically defined species of living plants and ani-
mals and defined areas of the country through their designation as “environmentally
sensitive species” and “environmentally sensitive areas” respectively.
The basic framework of the EM Act is enlarged in subsidiary legislation.
It is very informative to understand what is the relationship between the EM Act and
the Rules of Practice and Procedure.
Basically while the EM Act sets out general procedural framework for proceedings
before the EC, the EC Rules of Practice and Procedure, 2001 (which may be amended
from time to time) (hereinafter the Rules and Procedure) provide the details of these
This includes such matters as the form and content of documents to be filed with the
EC, timelines within which procedural steps must be taken and the hearing procedure.
You and/or your attorney-at-law could consult the Rules and of Practice and Proce-
dure before participating in in any proceedings before the EC. Copies are available at
the Government Printery.
Now that we have dealt with some basic matters we would now look at exactly what
is the Environmental Commission. This an impartial and independent body which is a
Superior Court of record established by the EM Act.
It is the first specialized environmental court in the history of Trinidad and Tobago
and is charged with the resolution of environmental disputes.
The EC comprises a full-time Chairman and Deputy Chairman, as well as other mem-
bers both full-time and part-time. The Chair and deputy Chairman are required to
be attorneys-at-law of not less than 10 years standing while other members are ap-
pointed on the basis of their knowledge of, or experience in environmental issues,
engineering, the natural sciences or the social sciences.
Members are appointed by the President of Trinidad and Tobago for a term of not
less than three years and under such terms and conditions as he may determine.
The EC has jurisdiction to hear and determine the following matters;
• appeals from the decisions or actions of the Environmental Management Authority as specifically authorized under the EM Act,
under sections 40 and 48.
• applications for deferment of decisions by the EMA to undertake certain emergency response activities under sections 25 of the EM Act;
• *applications for deferment of designations by the EMA of “environmentally sensitive species” or “environmentally sensitive areas”
under section 41 and 46 of the EM Act;
• * applications by the EMA for the enforcement of any consent agreement or any final administrative order under section 67 of the
• Administrative civil assessments under section 66 of the EM Act;
• *appeals from the designation by the EMA of “environmentally sensitive areas” of “environmentally sensitive species” under section
• appeals under section 40 of the EM Act from a decision of the EMA under section 36 of the EM Act to refuse to issue a certificate of
environmental clearance or to grant such a certificate with conditions;
• appeals from any determination by the EMA to disclose information for materials claimed as a trade trade secret or confidential
business information under section 23 (3) of the EM Act;
• complaints brought by persons pursuant to section 69 of the EM Act, otherwise known as Direct Private Party Actions;
• an appeal against an Administrative Officer issued by the EMA under section 65 (2) (a) under the EM Act;
• an appeal where the EMA has failed to comply with the requirement for public participation under section 28 and 30 of the EM Act;
• an appeal against a decision of the EMA to reject a claim under the Certificate of Environmental Clearance Rules, 2001 that
information supplied in an application is a trade secret or confidential business information and should be excluded from the
National Register of Certificates of Environmental Clearance under section 4 (2) of the CEC Rules;
• an appeal against a decision of the EMA under the Noise Pollution Control Rules, 2001 under section 23 of the Noise Pollution Rules
to: refuse to grant a variation, refuse to renew a variation, revoke a variation, impose any conditions of a variation, or;
• reject a claim that information supplied in an application is a trade secret or confidential business information and should be
excluded from the Noise Variation Register, and
• Such other matters as may be prescribed or arise under the EM Act or any other written law where jurisdiction in the EC is
The Environmental Commission, a superior court of re-
cord, will be known to all as a court characterized by
excellence, which strives to attain justice for all through
the rule of law. The Court will be easily accessible, using
effective case management methodology and information
technology. The Court will be recognized as a leader in
achieving sustainable development through its decisions.
The Environmental Commission shall, in a fair, accessible,
effective, and efficient manner, resolve disputes arising
within its jurisdiction, impartially and consistently to pro-
tect the rights of citizens while being cognizant of the need
for the balancing of economic growth with environmen-
tally sound practices.
THE ENVIRONMENTAL COMMISSION
has been playing a major role in securing the environment of Trinidad and Tobago and legislation
governing its operations is protected by provisions in the Environmental Management Act.
THE FOLLOWING GIVES SOME ASPECTS OF THE COMMISSION’S WORK.
WHAT ARE SOME TYPES OF MATTERS
THAT CAN BE DEALT WITH BY THE
EC STAFF MEMBERS AT A TRAINING SESSION
PUBLIC SERVANTS AT THE EC TAKE TIME OFF
TO ENJOY THEMSELVES AT PLAY
PUBLIC SERVANTS CELEBRATE TODAY
HAPPY UNITED NATIONS
PUBLIC SERVICE DAY 2015
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Tuesday, June 23, 2015
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