On August 15, the Seimas adopted the Law on Environmental Impact Assessment. The law provides for a process for public participation in the planning of economic activities that potentially have negative environmental impacts. Persons planning economic activities must carry out an evaluation of the project's potential influence on the environment at their own expense. Two different types of evaluation are foreseen: primary and exhaustive. Primary evaluation is the minimum form of evaluation. Exhaustive evaluation is required when a proposed activity is among those considered by the government as likely to cause a significant environmental impact. If a proposed activity is not on the government's list but is nonetheless likely to cause a significant environmental impact, an exhaustive analysis may still be required. The MEP has the power to take the final decision to approve or to stop the proposed economic activity.
In 1996, Lithuania ratified the Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitat.
By year's end, draft legislative documents for ratification of the Convention on Environmental Impact Assessment in a Transboundary Context were under discussion in the Seimas. The MEP was reviewing a number of draft laws to ensure their compatibility with EU requirements. These include the draft Law on Chemical Substances, the draft Law on Waste, the draft Law on Water Protection, and the draft Law on Drinking Water. Finally, an informal interministerial working group on environmental damage began work in 1996 on development of new formulas and rates aimed at updating Lithuania's system of pollution charges.
In 1996, Austria became a party to the 1992 UN Economic Commission for Europe Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes. Austria made a declaration in accordance with Art. 22, para. 2 of the Convention, that "it accepts both means of