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Press Release

Framing of the Guidelines for Environmental Impact Assessment for "New Mutsu-Ogawara Development Basic Plan"

March 30, 2005

In response to the request made by the Aomori Prefecture, the Ministry of the Environment set guidelines for environmental assessment to be conducted for formulating the "New Mutsu-Ogawara Development Basic Plan" (hereinafter referred to as "the New Plan") on March 30, 2005.

The New Plan is a regional development plan in which details of individual projects comprised in the plan are not confirmed. Since this type of plan is subject to neither the Environmental Impact Assessment Law nor the Aomori Prefectural Ordinance for Environmental Impact Assessment, new guidelines applying to this plan was necessary.

The New Plan is a succeeding plan of the first Mutsu-Ogawara Development Plan developed in 1972 and the second Mutsu-Ogawara Development Plan developed in 1975 and revised in 1985 which were formulated to promote development of a large scale industrial park in Mutsu-Ogawara region. Considering enormous changes in socio-economic situation after the revision of the second plan, the Aomori Prefecture, in cooperation with the central government, has been making an effort to formulate it.

<Gist of the Guidelines>

1.Based on the procedures of environmental assessment conducted at the implementing stage of a project as it is, environmental assessment for the New Plan should be implemented in considering that it is carried out at the planning stage when details of individual projects comprised in the New Plan are not confirmed yet.
- Environmental impacts by the New Plan to the whole region, rather than the detailed environmental impacts of each projects, should be studied.
- Measures for environmental conservation should be placed in the New Plan based on the result of the environmental assessment. The points to be considered when each project is implemented should be compiled in advance as "Guidelines for Environmental Considerations".

2.The information about environmental load by existing facilities built under the second Mutsu-Ogawara Development Plan should be collected and utilized.
- For any detailed environmental assessments already conducted at implementing stage of the projects, the results of these environmental assessments should be considered.
- Environmental load caused by any projects under operation such as Mustu-Ogawara National Oil Storage Base and environment changes by these projects should be apprehended as current environment of the region.

3.Considering the long-term implementation period of the New Plan, forecasts of environmental impact should be targeted at two different stages. Based on the progress of the New Plan, forecast and other survey should be conducted again at the midterm of the implementation period.
- Since the New Plan is a long-term plan, forecasts should be targeted at two different stages. One is 2020's - the target year of the New Plan and the other is an intermediate stage of implementation.
- When the new plan reached at "an appropriate intermediate stage", forecasts should be conducted again based on the information available at that stage, such as shaping up of individual projects. Based on these forecasts, environmental conservation measures should be revised, if necessary.

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