Environmental Sustainability and CEA
Moderator: Robin Senner
On Building Environmental Sustainability Assurance into Cumulative Effects Assessment
Presenter(s): Barry Sadler
Environmental sustainability means the impact of our development activities must stay within the regenerative (source) and assimilative (sink) capacities of natural systems and not persistently exceed or degrade them. These thresholds are poorly understood at all spatial scales and the potential changes in ecosystem structure and function associated with cumulative effects cannot be predicted with any confidence. In light of present trends, the incorporation of risk-based, precautionary and compensatory measures into environmental assessment and management seems a prudent response. This paper argues the case for this approach and identifies elements and protocols that can build increased sustainability assurance into development decision-making.
Assessing the Sustainability of Project Alternatives
Presenter(s): Robin Senner
Evaluating and comparing development alternatives with respect to sustainability is an important goal for comprehensive project assessment. This component has been largely missing from standard environmental impact assessment (EIA) practice. To succeed, any procedure to incorporate sustainability into EIA must be convenient, fast, and inexpensive. Cumulative effects assessment provides an efficient and systematic way to incorporate sustainability metrics and predictors that have already been developed as criteria for rating systems and evaluation programs increasingly applied to buildings, communities, and infrastructure.
Environmental Sustainability as the Basis for Cumulative Effects Management: A Case Study
Presenter(s): Tom Swor
Multiple strategies aided the incorporation of management within a CEA study for the Ohio River mainstem. The most significant development was VEC-specific matrices of “Reasonably Foreseeable Future Actions”; they were utilized throughout the study. Management of cumulative effects required consolidation of a large amount of information. The outcome was a three-level analysis of environmental sustainability (unsustainable, marginally sustainable, and sustainable) addressing past, current, and future conditions. The resultant conditions served as the foundation for identifying appropriate management measures.
The Potential Role of Cumulative Environmental Assessment Practices in Re-Engineering Institutional and Legal Frameworks and Policies for Managing Sustainable Economic Development. The Case of Small Island Development States in the Caribbean (Trinidad and Tobago)
Presenter(s): Wayne Huggins
This paper explores the challenge of practicing Cumulative Environmental Assessments (CEA) in the context of weak institutional and legal frameworks and policies governing Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs). The paper describes the role of EIAs in the Development Approval process in Trinidad and Tobago. The weaknesses of the current framework and the leading role the ethical and professional CEA specialist can play in influencing environmental policy are explored.