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Enviromental licensing of port facilities

by Janaina Ramalho published May 07, 2014 05:58 PM, last modified May 07, 2014 05:58 PM

According to act No. 424 of October 26, 2011, there are some mandatory steps to be followed in order to lease an area inside a statutory port or to obtain a license to construct a Private Use Terminal (TUP). In fact, any construction of port facilities needs previous environmental licensing. This licensing is constituted of three stages besides the terms of reference.

The first step to be taken by the applicant is to elaborate a project draft which will be turned into a term of reference by the environmental authority and will then guide the mandatory environmental studies. To apply for this license, it is necessary to submit this project draft to the environmental authority. The project contents should include: contact data, size of the construction, localization of the installations, technical details, liquid effluents, solid waste and atmospheric emissions, among others. After analyzing this document, the environmental authority will issue the term of reference in order to conduct the environmental impact study. This procedure is necessary in order to obtain a specific guide adequated for each situation when preparing the environmental impact study, as established in the new Port Regulatory Framework, Law No. 12,815, article 14, clause III.

The issuing environmental authority can either belong to the Federal or the State governments. The definition of the responsible authority is based mostly on the impact of the construction in the surrounding biome, the cargo to be handled or the location of the facility. If the construction is located between two states, or if the environmental impact is too extreme, the competent authority will belong to the Federal Government, IBAMA. In most other cases, the responsible authority belongs to the State.

After carrying out the environmental impact study based on the guidelines established in the terms of reference, the study should be returned to the environmental authority in order to be approved. Once the study is approved, the Previous License (Licença Prévia-LP), which will be valid for five years, is granted. With this LP, it is already possible to apply for financing.

It is also necessary to apply for the Installation License (Licença de instalação – LI), after obtaining the LP, in order to begin construction. The application procedures determine that the applicant must present the Execution Project (Projeto Executivo) and it must also include a Basic Environmental Program (Programa Básico Ambiental – PBA) and an Enviromental Management Program (Programa de Gerenciamento Ambiental). Once these projects and programs are approved by the responsible authority, the license, which will be valid for six years, is granted.

Once the construction work is concluded, it is necessary to apply at the environmental authority for a final license which is called Operation License (Licença de Operação – LO) and it is valid for 10 years.

Enviromental management procedures
Law No. 9,966 of April 28, 2002, establishes the rules regarding oil spills and other harmful substances. This law defines the meaning of harmful substances as well as their danger level, which are divided among four categories:
A- high danger to human health, as well as to the aquatic environment;
B- medium danger to human health, as well as to the aquatic environment;
C- moderate danger to human health, as well as to the aquatic environment;
D- low danger to human health, as well as to the aquatic environment.

In its 6th article, the same law demands that companies that exploit the statutory ports, port facilities and owners or platform operators should prepare an internal procedure manual to mitigate the pollution danger as well as manage the waste generated by handling or storage procedures of oil or any other dangerous activities. This manual must be approved by the environmental authority, according to the legislation in force, and take into consideration the classification above.

Law No. 9,966 also establishes that each leased area and TUP must formulate their own Individual Emergency Program (Programa de Emergência Individual – PEI) since each area will have its own individual demands and cargo requirements. This program seeks to provide a quick response in case of accidents, protecting the environment and the port activities as well.