Dominican Republic Enacts New Environmental Legislation

The National Congress of the Dominican Republic has passed a new environmental law creating a Department of Environment and Natural Resources and streamlining the environmental review process required for development.

The new environmental statute must be considered within the context of other Dominican laws and regulations. Companies interested in doing business in the Dominican Republic, or in expanding their current operations, that have questions about the implications of the new law should feel free to contact their attorney at the firm, or the firm's managing partner, Luis Pellerano.

Purposes Of The Law

The law lists more than a dozen basic principles. For example, one basic principle is that the law is intended to create standards for the conservation, protection, improvement, and restoration of the environment and natural resources, ensuring their sustainable use. It also declares that environmental impact studies shall be the "basic instruments" for environmental management.

In addition, the law contains nearly a dozen objectives. These include regulating activities that affect the environment, developing a national environmental plan based on sustainable development, and managing in a "rational" manner the nation's water systems and basins.

The Natural Resources Department

The law creates the Natural Resources Department as the governing body in charge of environmental matters. It also establishes five divisions of the Natural Resources Department, responsible for: environmental management; soils and waters; forestry resources; protected areas and biodiversity; and coastal and marine resources.

Instruments For The Management Of The Environment And Natural Resources

The new law explains the methods that the Natural Resources Department may use to manage the Dominican environment and its natural resources. These include: environmental planning; environmental permits and licenses; strategic evaluation of environmental impact; environmental inspection; and incentives.

Thus, as described in the law, the planning of development throughout the country now must incorporate a consideration of environmental issues. Toward that end, all development plans, programs and projects -- whether of a national, regional, provincial, or municipal nature -- must be drafted or adjusted to reflect the new law's guiding principles and the applicable environmental policies, strategies, and programs established by the Dominican government.


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