OTTAWA, May 1, 2019 – Ecojustice called regulations proposed today for the new impact assessment system a major misstep by the federal government that will impede Canada’s ability to fight climate change.
Ecojustice has supported Bill C-69 as it promised to fix many aspects of the assessment process and provide greater transparency. But it will only apply to projects listed by regulation, and the draft list issued today falls well short of what is needed to deal with climate threats and protect the environment.
Ecojustice and other environmental groups recommended adding triggers in the list that would ensure projects producing large amounts of greenhouse gas emissions would be assessed federally, as well as a trigger for greater assessment of projects that might impact the habitat of endangered species. Instead, the proposal would reduce oversight of the projects with the greatest potential for environmental damage.
Ecojustice lawyer Joshua Ginsberg made the following statement:
“The old Canadian Environmental Assessment Act from 1992 assessed thousands of projects. Changes in 2012 cut that list to dozens. Today’s proposal will actually result in even fewer assessments of projects such as mines and pipelines. The regulations on the table today are worse than those under the previous government.
“At time when climate emergencies are being declared across the country, when some provinces are being inundated by floods, and others by fire, it is very disheartening that the federal government has passed on the chance to increase scrutiny of projects that emit large amounts of greenhouse gases.
“Unless something changes, fossil fuel projects will receive a free pass under this legislation and will give polluting industries a big break. This will make it even harder for Canada to meet its climate commitments and avoid the worst effects of climate change.
“There is a period of consultation on these proposals and Ecojustice intends to use that time put forward its recommendations.”