Environmental Assessment Report needs an environmental assessment
OTTAWA -The federal government handed industry everything it wanted with its report on the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act which, if implemented, will deprive Canadians of their democratic right to participate in decisions affecting them and their children. The report was issued by the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development after holding a series of hurried hearings last year.
“I was given only a few days’ notice to testify,” said John Bennett, Executive Director of Sierra Club Canada. “Before I finished the first paragraph of my presentation a Conservative member attempted to silence me, in the process using up part of my allotted time and preventing me from finishing.”
The most disturbing recommendation in the new report would eliminate the need for a proponent to provide evidence that alternatives to the project have been examined. This is a critical factor when determining if the environmental, social and economic impacts are warranted. It’s impossible to undertake a true cost/benefit analysis and when only one scenario (that favored by the proponent) is examined. This could not only have devastating repercussions for the environment, it could hurt Canadians in their pocket-books too!
“The committee is saying we should assume a nuclear or coal power plant builder has examined all the options fairly and concluded there are no better means of meeting the electricity needs,” said Mr. Bennett. “These vested interests have shown over the years they don’t give full attention to alternatives unless required to by law, and even when then do they give them short thrift.”
The government should have followed the proper process and given Canadians across the country a chance to share their experience with the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act as was done in 2000.
For more information visitthe CEN/RCENEnvironmental Planning and Assessment Caucus’ resources page.
John Bennett, Executive Director
Sierra Club Canada