Exempt Oil and Gas projects from Federal Law?

Stephen Hazell, Director of Conservation and General Counsel.

Nature Canada supports passage by Parliament of Bill C-69, which includes the proposed Impact Assessment Act. This law mandates the government to weigh the positive and negative impacts of projects that affect the environment, considering factors such as climate change, potential harm to watersheds and endangered species, public safety, and Indigenous rights, in order to minimize harms and boost benefits. The oil and gas industry has been lobbying in the Senate to weaken or kill the Bill, which was passed by the House of Commons in June.

The oil and gas industry has also been lobbying to ensure that in situ oil sands projects, most pipelines, and fracking projects should be exempt from the new law even if it is passed.

Nature Canada and other environmental groups are calling on Canada to expand the list of projects it reviews to ensure that greenhouse gas emissions and other environmental damage from proposed industrial development are minimized. In particular, Nature Canada is arguing that federal assessments should be required for all projects that propose to emit more than 50,000 tonnes of GHGs per year, that require permits under the Fisheries Act and Canadian Navigable Waters Act and projects located in National Parks, National Wildlife Areas or other federal protected areas (e.g., new roads, ski hills, tourist attractions).

Here is the link to the joint media release and comprehensive list of project categories that should be assessed.  


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