“Green Licensing” Reform in Israel
Recently, the Israeli Ministry of Environmental Protection published a preliminary draft bill relating to the proposed Integrated Environmental Licensing Law.
This preliminary draft bill, which is based on the European Union’s Industrial Emissions Directive 2010/75/EU, was disseminated as a result of the Israeli government’s decision in April 2015 to work towards improving environmental regulations and encouraging “green” growth by promoting an integrated environmental licensing law. This came in the wake of the Israeli government’s commitment as part of its OECD accession process, after a number of years of collaborative efforts between the Ministry of Environmental Protection and other government ministries and after consulting with numerous authorities in the business, public and third sectors.
The objective of the draft bill is to improve regulatory and environmental aspects of the current licensing systems, by instituting a comprehensive reform based on adjustment of the standards to those customary in the European Union, while consolidating a number of current environmental licensing procedures into a single procedure, to be carried out according to clear timetables and accepted criteria.
Thus, new environmental regulations will apply to plants and businesses in sectors having a significant impact on the environment in Israel, through integrated environmental licensing procedures for factories and businesses that currently have to obtain a variety of permits and licenses in order to operate. These sectors include the energy industry, the chemicals industry, metal manufacturing and processing, the minerals industry, waste treatment and management, food manufacturing and animal husbandry. In the majority of these sectors, a particular production capacity is defined, and any factory with a production capacity higher than that is considered as having a significant environmental impact.
The preliminary draft bill differentiates between two levels of factories that require integrated environment licensing, as specified in the law: (1) a Level 1 factory and (2) a Level 2 factory. The differentiation is based on a categorization similar to that being used in Europe, but with the necessary adaptations to Israeli law, which takes a more stringent approach towards Level 1 factories.
Pursuant to the proposed draft bill, the integrated environmental license will enable the incorporation of individual environmental permits, which are currently issued by virtue of various regulations, into one integrated license. This will be done by integrating a substantial portion of the regulatory requirements issued by the Ministry of Environmental Protection and providing factories and businesses with a single integrated permit, which has been coordinated with other government ministries.
The integrated permit to be issued pursuant to this law shall be in effect for seven years, and will replace environmental criteria in a business license (air, sewage, odors, hazardous substances, noise, etc.); an emissions permit pursuant to the Clean Air Law; a toxins permit pursuant to the Hazardous Substances Law; administrative authorizations relating to hazardous waste; and allowances for industrial waste effluents into the sewage system. However, the permit relating to effluents into the sea pursuant to the Law for the Prevention of Marine Contamination from Land-Based Sources will not be part of the integrated permit. Nevertheless, it is being proposed to include an indirect amendment to the aforesaid law for the purpose of coordinating processes between the issuance of a marine effluents permit and the integrated licensing arrangement.
Within the scope of the proposed draft bill, licensing arrangements will be replaced by environmental legislation that exists in up-to-date alternative arrangements, primarily in relation to emissions permits pursuant to the Clean Air Law, 5768-2008, certification and business license conditions pursuant to the Business Licensing Law, 5728-1968, and toxins permits by virtue of the Hazardous Substances Law, 5753-1993.
To read the draft bill (in Hebrew), please click here