De vanskelige konsekvensvurderingene

22 Apr 2013

I helgen diskuterte Arbeiderpartiets landsmøte spørsmålet om det skal gjennomføres konsekvensutredninger av oljeutvinning utenfor Lofoten, Vesterålen og Senja.  Jeg vil i denne artikkelen belyse den rollen konsekvensutredninger spiller i en […]

BoreplattformI helgen diskuterte Arbeiderpartiets landsmøte spørsmålet om det skal gjennomføres konsekvensutredninger av oljeutvinning utenfor Lofoten, Vesterålen og Senja.  Jeg vil i denne artikkelen belyse den rollen konsekvensutredninger spiller i en saksbehandling og hvorfor slike utredninger kan bli omstridte.

En konsekvensutredning er en faglig vurdering av hvilke konsekvenser en utbygging eller et annet miljøinngrep vil få. Regelverket er bygget på regler fra EU. I norsk rett er systemet tatt inn som en egen forskrift under av plan- og bygningslovgivningen.  

Et viktig grunnprinsipp ved utarbeidelsen av konsekvensutredninger er at dette er tiltakshavers ansvar. Det er den som vil gjennomføre miljøinngrepet som både skal sørge for at konsekvensutredningen lages og som må ta kostnadene ved arbeidet.

Det første spørsmålet som må stilles er hvilke tiltak som skal konsekvensutredes. Regelverket har omfattende regler om dette. Tiltakene ordnes i to kategorier. De største tiltakene skal alltid konsekvensutredes. Ved de litt mindre tiltakene foretar myndighetene en forhåndsvurdering av om konsekvensutredning er nødvendig.

Dersom konsekvensutredning skal gjennomføres blir det neste spørsmålet hvor omfattende den skal være. Tiltakshaveren må utarbeide et forslag til utredningsprogram. Forslaget skal sendes på offentlig høring, og det kan også gjennomføres møter for å belyse utredningsbehovet.

Det endelige utredningsprogrammet skal fastsettes av den ansvarlige myndighet. De vil selvsagt bygge på forslaget fra utbygger, men det er klart presisert i regelverket at det er myndighetene som utformer programmet.

På bakgrunn av programmet skal tiltakshaver så lage konsekvensutredningen.

Resultatet skal også godkjennes av ansvarlig myndighet, og det skal i den forbindelse vurderes om det er nødvendig med tilleggsutredninger. Regelverket inneholder også et krav om at konsekvensutredninger og de fagrapporter som er innhentet som grunnlag for utredning normalt skal publiseres på internett.

BoreplattformSom miljølovgivningen generelt gir reglene om konsekvensutredninger et effektivt hjelpemiddel for myndighetene både i den forstand at de kan kreve så grundige utredninger de måtte ønske og ved at utredningene ofte vil inneholde argumenter som kan brukes om man ønsker å verne miljøet mot inngrep.

Samtidig innebærer systemet selvsagt ingen rettslig garanti mot at man gjennomfører miljøskadelige inngrep. Ut fra et miljøsynspunkt er det også noen viktige spørsmål som kan stilles ved systemet.

Det ene er at det kan ha uheldige sider når det er tiltakshaver selv som skal utarbeide utredningen. Dersom utredningsarbeidet gir spillerom for faglig skjønn vil den som lager utredningen kunne legge vekt på tiltakshavers interesser. En usikker miljørisiko kan dermed beskrives som så liten som det er faglig forsvarlig å gjøre den.

Det andre er at konsekvensvurderingen oftest lages etter at myndighetene har truffet en beslutning om at inngrepet er ønskelig. Det gjør at konsekvensvurderingen må gi relativt dramatiske nye opplysninger for at et inngrep blir stanset.

Uansett vil imidlertid konsekvensvurderingen få mindre betydning i saker der miljøkonsekvensene er usikre, slik tilfellet for eksempel vil være ved oljeutvinning i nord. Vi står da overfor en relativt liten risiko for store skadefølger, og en slik risiko må man uansett vurdere politisk om man er villig til å ta. Derfor er det riktig at beslutningen om oljeutvinning i nord neppe vil endres som en følge av funn man gjør i en konsekvensutredning.

Om forfatteren

Halfdan Mellbye
Halfdan Mellbye Halfdan Mellbye har i 25 år arbeidet med ulike juridiske problemstillinger innenfor fiskeri- og havbruksnæringen. Han har blant annet arbeidet svært mye med næringsreguleringsspørmål og han har i tillegg særlig gode kunnskaper om de biologiske og miljømessige utfordringene for næringsutøverne. Han har i en årrekke vært faglig ansvarlig for faget Havbruksjus ved Universitetet i Bergen. Han har nylig utgitt boken "Rettslig regulering av norsk akvakultur" som er utgitt på Universitetsforlaget 2018. Halfdan har møterett for Høyesterett.

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