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Ottawa, Feb 9 (Canadian-Media): Catherine McKenna, Canada's Environment Minister introduced Impact Assessment Act in the House of Commons to evaluate and review major new energy projects, media reports said.
Impact Assessment Act reportedly assesses the potential effects of planned developmental activities, provide needed mitigation measures and formulates a monitoring evaluation process.
In the next decade over $500 billion major resource projects in Canada are being planned across, McKenna was reported to tell a news conference while announcing the new bill.
“These projects would mean tens of thousands of well-paying jobs cross the country, and they would provide an economic boost for communities and our economy as a whole,” McKenna was reported to state.
“But we cannot get there without better rules to guide our decisions about resource development.”
Catherine McKenna: official
Liberal government’s Conservative predecessors had reportedly been accused by McKenna for damaging public trust in the process of evaluating new energy projects.
“Approvals were based on politics, rather than robust science,” McKenna said. “There were concerns that changes were putting our fish, our waterways and our communities at risk, and were not taking into account the climate impacts of projects.”
Official reports said once the new law is passed, major projects will continue to be evaluated by a federally appointed review panel and by bodies such as the Canadian Energy Regulator – the new name of the current National Energy Board.
“Unless the proposed Impact Assessment Act is substantially revised as it proceeds through Parliament, CELA concludes that the new EA process will not restore public trust or ensure credible, participatory and science-based decision-making,” Canadian Environmental Law Association (CELA) lawyer, Richard Lindgren was reported to state. “We therefore call upon Parliament to strengthen and improve the legislation before it is enacted.”
Smaller projects that have fewer assessment requirements will need to be decided on within 300 days, instead of the current 450.
All projects will be evaluated both for environmental impacts and on the basis of “robust science, evidence and traditional Indigenous knowledge,” McKenna said.
“Indigenous Peoples would be consulted in a … meaningful manner,”
Public interest would also reportedly be the main criterion of evaluation for all new projects.
(Reporting by Asha Bajaj)