section 58 of SARA, the responsible Minister must make an order
(or statement) to protect the critical habitat that has been
identified in a recovery strategy or action plan for an endangered
or threatened species. The order will, when it comes into force,
trigger the prohibition under section 58 against the destruction of
any part of the critical habitat of the SLE beluga whale.
The "rationale" for the proposed order indicates,
[T]here are no planned or ongoing activities within the critical
habitat of the [SLE population] that would need to be mitigated ...
beyond existing federal and provincial legislative or regulatory
mechanisms to avoid destruction of any part of the critical
habitat. That being said, should any future activities result in
the destruction of any part of the critical habitat of [the SLE
population], they would be subject to the stringent requirements of
SARA triggered through the making of this Order.
This description of current development activity follows a
flurry of protest in 2014 related to TransCanada's
East Energy pipeline proposal and proposed activities in the
area. In April 2014, TransCanada
announced it would not proceed to develop a port in the St.
Lawrence further to its pipeline proposal.
Environmental organizations in the fall of 2014 went to court
successfully sought an injunction to prevent TransCanada from
conducting exploratory work in the St. Lawrence River until after
October 15, to avoid a critical period for beluga whale
reproduction. Quebec Superior Court Judge Roy
granted the injunction, concluding that the Quebec Environment
Minister's decision to authorize the work was unreasonable.
Once the Order is in place, it will create additional regulatory
requirements for any proposed development that may affect the
critical habitat of the SLE beluga population.
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guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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