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Chile mulling new climate change-related requirements in environmental permitting

Bnamericas Published: Monday, November 28, 2022

Chilean authorities do not plan to introduce changes to shorten environmental evaluation times and are looking to introduce new requirements related to climate change next year.

Some projects have spent up to 955 days under review, Valentina Durán, head of environmental evaluation service SEA, told the senate environment committee during a session that was broadcast live.

She said the long times are caused by requests to suspend permitting processes to respond to observations, a result of “deficient” projects being submitted.

“We need solid and robust projects that consider the different evaluation requirements in order to have a smooth evaluation,” Durán said. 

As for the new requirements, SEA’s head said that 10 new criteria will be incorporated during the first half of 2023, which include new rules for transmission lines and agriculture projects in protected areas, among others. 

However, she did announce that SEA would create a dedicated evaluation team for the US$1.5bn Kimal-Lo Aguirre transmission line to speed up its evaluation due to its importance in improving connections between the northern and central regions. 

Project submissions to SEA have fallen this year, though Durán said that is a symptom of the country’s overall economic performance. 

The SEA head’s comments were rebuked by senator Sergio Gahona of the conservative opposition party UDI, who said the private sector is “permanently complaining” about long evaluation times and added that the issue is not just limited to SEA but all other public agencies that have a say in the process.

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