Federal Conservatives have often signalled their reservations
about environmental assessment and approvals, and their impact on
slowing favoured projects. They already suspended much federal EA
for infrastructure stimulus projects. Now the federal Speech from the
Throne (http://tinyurl.com/yfoy3my) and theBudget
(http://tinyurl.com/yzlkjwe) show they will do
something similar for resource development:
According to the Speech:
To support responsible development of Canada's energy
and mineral resources, our Government will untangle the daunting
maze of regulations that needlessly complicates project approvals,
replacing it with simpler, clearer processes that offer improved
environmental protection and greater certainty to
Our Government will reform the northern regulatory regime to
ensure that the region's resource potential can be developed
where commercially viable while ensuring a better process for
protecting our environment.
The lengthy time frames and higher costs to comply with the
Municipal Class EA process are not providing additional
environmental or other benefits.
The first concrete proof of the change came in yesterday's
(http://tinyurl.com/yzlkjwe ) . Approvals of
major energy projects will no longer be controlled by the Canadian
Environmental Assessment Agency:
The Government is taking steps in Budget 2010 to further
improve the regulatory review process for large energy projects.
Responsibility for conducting environmental assessments for energy
projects will be delegated from the Canadian Environmental
Assessment Agency to the National Energy Board and the Canadian
Nuclear Safety Commission for projects falling under their
respective areas of expertise. Participant funding programs will be
established by each agency to ensure the timely and meaningful
engagement of the public, stakeholders and Aboriginal peoples in
the review of major energy projects.
This change will greatly reduce the potential for environmental
assessment to block new energy projects, such as new nuclear, oil
sands, or pipelines.
The only other reference to the environment, in the Speech, was
an offsetting promise that follows existing Conservative
our Government will bolster its Action Plan on Clean Water.
And it will build on the creation of more than 85,000 square
kilometres of national parks and marine conservation areas as part
of its national conservation plan.
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