ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

M P Ram MohanSubscribe to M P Ram Mohan

Challenges in Shale Gas Production Cannot Be Resolved by Generic Environment Clearance Processes

India is venturing into shale gas fracking with a pursuit to cut down its natural gas export bill significantly. This process poses several challenges concerning “energy-water nexus,” such as mixing of shale fluid with the groundwater, rationing of water in a water-scarce country, and lack of technical know-how of waste-water treatment. These challenges may result in significant problems if not regulated at the exploration stage of the gas. This article highlights legal and policy gaps concerning shale gas exploration process and water usage.

Air Quality Data Dissemination

Comprehensive air quality monitoring and its data dissemination remain the key factors that determine our ability to understand the quality of the environment in which we live. The Supreme Court’s dictum of the right to a clean environment and healthy living under Article 21 of the Constitution could also include in its ambit the right to have knowledge of the quality of air we breathe. The Central Pollution Control Board should also consider multiple policy and technological options, including adopting low-cost AQM towards better implementation of national air quality standards.

Public Hearings in Environmental Clearance Process

A public hearing is the only medium in the environmental clearance process through which people can interact directly with government officials and the project proponents regarding project-related concerns. The relevance of public hearings—underlining principles of “democratic participatory governance,” “sustainable development” and “natural justice” for people—can never be undermined. However, this single procedural step is at the centre of so many legal disputes in the Indian courts (Supreme Court and high courts), and the National Green Tribunal had to repeatedly step in and clarify its importance in public policy and the environmental clearance process. This article reviews a series of judicial and quasi-judicial decisions on the question of the public hearing process in India.
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