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Weaker federal laws will increase pressure on Alberta to deliver on environmental management

Published on May 5, 2012 by in Home
Jennifer Grant
Pembina Institute 

 

Last week, the Harper government outlined its plans to weakenvirtually every major piece of federal environmental legislation in Bill C-38, the omnibus budget implementation bill.

Among other things, the changes outlined in the bill would repeal the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (CEAA) and replace it with a new version of the bill. CEAA 2012 will shift responsibility for many environmental assessments to the provinces (even though some, like Alberta, have been ill equipped to do the job). With this legislation, the federal government is writing itself a substantially reduced role in the business of environmental oversight and protection — and yet ironically, the proposed changes would give the federal cabinet authority to overrule any decision by the National Energy Board that would otherwise reject a proposal on environmental grounds.

Perhaps not surprisingly, given the scope of changes proposed in the budget bill,new polling by Forum Research for the Hill Times indicates that “59 per cent of Canadians believe the federal government has put oil and gas companies’ interests above those of Canadians, while 63 per cent of Canadians do not trust the government to do what’s best for Canada with respect to the environment.” MORE

 
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