Thursday, March 15, 2012

Conservatives, opposition clash over plans to 'modernize' environmental reviews

Conservatives, opposition clash over plans to 'modernize' environmental reviews

May accuses government of gutting the act

“…What they really want is to kill the environmental assessment act, but they dare not say it out loud. This is death by 1,000 cuts." - Elizabeth May

By Mike De Souza,
Postmedia News
Calgary Herald
March 13, 2012

OTTAWA — Conservative and opposition MPs crossed swords Tuesday over recommendations to "modernize" environmental assessments in Canada that could speed up approvals of projects, while weakening reviews of potential impacts.

The controversial recommendations were introduced Tuesday in the House of Commons by a committee that is reviewing the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, originally adopted by the government of former Conservative prime minister Brian Mulroney.

Michelle Rempel, a Calgary-based Conservative MP, explained that the 20 recommendations in the report could help the country avoid losing economic opportunities to lengthy reviews that need to be more "efficient" and "effective."

But she was unable to say exactly how proposed changes would have impacted a recent case in which a federal review rejected a proposal to turn a fishing lake into a dumping ground for a new mine after the project was approved by the provincial government in British Columbia.

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