Ecological policy is the whole complex of the state established legal standards to organize activities for preserving man natural habitat and natural resources reasonable usage. In accordance with the federal agreement the main problems of the environment protection are regarded as shared authority of the power bodies of federal level and of the federation subjects. The federal bodies prepare and adopt the legislation foundations, and in accordance with them the federation subjects issue their legislation acts adapted to the local social-economic conditions and requirements.
Ecological legislation declares that the object of legal protection is natural environment which exists outside the human will and does not depend on his mind as an objectively given reality. The sources of the ecological legislation are normative legal acts which contain legal standards regulating economic relations. They are laws, decrees, resolutions and instructions of government bodies, as well as normative documents of some ministries and departments. Great significance is attached to international legal acts on natural environment protection and to regulating foundations of rational nature usage with absolute predominance of international legislation.
In connection with Russia sovereignty and the USSR disintegration, the Russian Federation legislation foundations were revised, together with those ecologically oriented. The Law “On the Natural Environment Protection” (1991), “The Land Code” (1991), the Russian Federation Law “On the Earth’s Interior” (1992), “The Forest Legislation Foundations” and other legal acts were worked out and adopted. It is accepted that the system of ecological legislation is subdivided into two sub-systems: nature protection and nature protection legislation.
The nature protection legislation includes the Russian Federation Law “On the Natural Environment Protection” (1991) and other legislation acts of complex legal regulation. The subsystem of natural legislation includes “The Russian Federation Land Code”, the Russian Federation Law “On the Earth’s Interior”, “The Russian Federation Forest Legislation Foundations”, “The Russian Federation Water Code” and other legal and normative acts of specific character. The Russian Federation Constitution expands on the guiding approaches to the state ecological strategy and the main principles of strengthening ecological law and order. The Russian Federation Constitution proclaims (Article 9, part 1) that land and other natural resources of the Russian Federation are used and protected as the foundation of life and vitality of the peoples living on the corresponding territory. The Constitution also secures the right of each person to favourable environment and to compensation of damages done to his health or property, and it also determines the right of citizens and juridical persons to private property on land and other natural resources (Article 9, part 2).
The Law “On the Natural Environment Protection” filled the wants of the Russian economic legislation in the field of nature usage, and it also determined the ways of solving the contradictions between ecology and economics. That law has become the main legal act, determined the objectives of natural environment preservation, that’s why all its regulations should not contradict other normative and regulating documents on the problems of the natural environment preservation.
The guidelines of the law are determined as scientifically grounded combination of ecological and economic interests with the priority of health protection and human rights on healthy and clean environment. Divergence from the worked out influence norms is considered to be an ecological violation. Unlike department laws the requirements are formulated which are aimed at the sources of destructive influence on the natural environment.
Man, his life and health protection are regarded in the law as the subject of influence on the natural environment and as the object of such influence endowed with guarantees that the caused damage will be compensated. The law determines the procedure of its carrying out consisting of the system including economic stimulation of the rational nature usage and administrative and legal pressure on the people violating ecological standards. According to this law it is considered to be essential to have the state ecological expert examination, state ecological control and its competence to suspend, restrict or stop ecologically harmful productive activity.
The Russian Federation Laws “On Sanitary and Epidemiological Wealth of the Population” (1991) and “On Burying, Recycling, Disinfection and Utilization of Industrial and Communal Wastes”, “On Health Protection” (1993) also contain very important regulations. In recent years, besides special normative legal acts of ecological character there is also ecologization of normative acts regulating economic and administrative activity. Ecologization means introduction of ecological requirements into normative and legal acts of non-ecological character. It is not mere chance that laws on local administration or on juridical persons’ taxation provide different privileges for decreasing discharges, for using ‘clean’ technologies etc.
Further development of the society’s productive forces puts up new ecological problems connected with the natural environment preservation and its resources usage. That’s why further improvement of legal base in the field of nature usage is to be considered as a successive and inevitable process.
The list of normative and legal acts of nature protection character which are in force on the territory of the Republic of Buryatia includes more than twenty units. Nevertheless, yearly control over observation of ecological legislation in the Republic of Buryatia and in the Baikal region on the whole, registers a great number of violations in man’s relations with the natural environment. According to the legislation currently in force such violations are mostly due to such kind of administrative responsibility as penalty payment, most juridical persons often avoid the responsibility.
The analysis of the present-day normative base and the natural environment management system leads to some conclusions and proposals:
1. The present-day list of harmful substances with their maximum acceptable concentrations is not sufficient; it is especially true about concentrations in the soil and atmospheric air.
2. It is necessary to work out the standards of maximum permissible influence on the ecological system, as well as to determine ecological capacity of particular zones, which will allow limiting the economic activity of some damaging factories or works.
3. It is necessary to work out a unified standard of inventory which would determine a distinct number of influences for both formulating norms and making ecological classification.
4. There is a need to accomplish an automated database on environment protection.
5. There is an obligation to coordinate the standards of separate departments of the Baikal region in the course of launching the unified monitoring system.
The present-day standards of natural environment protection are an uncoordinated set of norms, methods and recommendations applied by different departments and organizations, which does not allow to compare them with those of the Russian Federation and the Baikal region. In 1995 the law “On the Natural Environment Protection” was worked out and adopted on the session of the Republic of Buryatia People’s Khural (Parliament); in it the regulation of the requirements to special nature usage was singled out to preserve the Baikal as the World Natural Heritage site.
The most significant element in the improvement of the nature protection legislation is working out and adoption of the federal law “On Lake Baikal Protection” which is the foundation for organizing, legal and economic regulations allowing to provide the protection and restoration of the unique natural object, Lake Baikal. In accordance with this law the system of financing the activities to protect Lake Baikal is determined and the norms to form Lake Baikal Protection Fund are introduced in coordination with the federal civil legislation. The law envisages establishing a state body attached to the Russian Federation Government, the Baikal Commission.
The main principles of the law are in regulating the relations connected with Lake Baikal preservation through division into ecological zones and establishing their definite geographic borders according to the principles of the World Heritage Convention, they determine the prohibited types of economic activity in each ecological zone, introduce administrative and economic influence levers to protect Lake Baikal.
The legal management of the traditional nature usage territory functioning is established separately. This officially states the legal status of the places for dwelling and economic activity of the North indigenous people and other ethnic groups of the population. The main procedure of the law realization is supposed to be carried out through landscape planning, ecological expert testing, ecological registration, financing and licensing of the natural resources usage and export. On the base of this law the guidelines of other legal acts are determined which develop and specify the main regulations of the Law.