The law on environmental information has been adopted

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Pepeliaev Group advises that on 9 March 2021 the Russian President signed the Law[1] which supplements Federal Law No. 7-FZ “On environmental protection” dated 10 January 2002 and a number of other laws with provisions on environmental information.

We remind the reader that according to article 42 of the Russian Constitution everyone has the right to accurate information about the condition of the environment. Nevertheless, for a long time the public's access to environmental information has been complicated by the fact that Russian legislation did not regulate the content and the rules for state and municipal authorities to post and update the environmental information. Therefore, the relevant information was often posted on the Internet with delays or was provided upon request.
In 2016 the Russian President ordered that the term “environmental information” be introduced into the legislation and the procedure for accessing it be determined.
The adopted law establishes that information about the condition of the environment (environmental information) is publicly available and access to it may not be limited, except when the information is classified as a state secret under Russian legislation.
State and municipal authorities as well as entities authorised by them must post environmental information on their official Internet websites or by means of state and municipal information systems.
The environmental information that must be posted on a compulsory basis includes the following data:
  • on the condition and pollution of the environment, including the condition and the pollution of the atmosphere, surface waters of water bodies, and soils;
  • on the radiation situation;
  • on stationary sources and on the level and/or volume or weight of the emissions and discharges of polluting substances;
  • on the management of industrial and consumption waste;
  • on measures to reduce a negative impact on the environment.
The law contains a reference provision whereby the Russian Government should determine the rules for posting and updating environmental information. The draft of the above resolution[2] is currently under public consultation. It lists 19 types of information which specialised agencies must post on their websites and/or in state/municipal information systems.
For example, there is a provision that the Russian Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment must publish on its official website data from the state registry of facilities that have an adverse impact on the environment. This should be done within five business days from the date when the information on such facilities is obtained.

comment.jpgThe provisions that have been adopted on environmental information are generally of a declarative nature and, on their own, are unlikely to increase the availability of such information. Moreover, the list of data that must be published contains only a part of the data that constitutes environmental information.

What to think about and what to do

For the provisions of the Law to be implemented, the Russian Government will need to adopt a resolution to determine the rules for posting and updating environmental information. We recommend monitoring the adoption of the specified document to be able to prepare for the upcoming changes. Companies whose activity affects the environment need to take into account that the public availability of environmental information may increase the likelihood of the supervisory authorities identifying violations of environmental legislation committed by companies and raising claims relating to such violations.

Help from your adviser

Pepeliaev Group’s lawyers are monitoring in real time all amendments to current legislation and are ready to promptly advise you on any matters of obtaining environmental information.

[1] Federal Law No. 39-FZ “On amending the Federal Law “On environmental protection” and individual items of Russian legislation” dated 9 March 2021.
[2] The draft Resolution of the Russian Government “On approving the rules for federal executive bodies, executive bodies of the constituent entities of the Russian Federation and municipal bodies or entities authorised by them to post and update information on the condition of the environment ( environmental information) on official websites in the Internet information and telecommunications network or by means of state and municipal information systems, including the content of information on the condition of the environment (environmental information) and the form in which it should be posted” https://regulation.gov.ru/p/113702  

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