Nature Canada

Senate on the Verge of Preventing Climate Action

Environmental groups call on Senate to side with millions of Canadians and not the fossil fuel industry

Ottawa, ON (May 21, 2019) – CNW- Environmental groups say the Senate is putting Canadians and the environment in danger as it considers changes to draft legislation that will hamper Canada’s ability to meet its climate targets.

The fossil fuel industry has applied extraordinary pressure to ensure Bill C-69, legislation that designs a new environmental assessment process, does not consider climate in any real capacity. This means that fossil fuel projects could go ahead regardless of the risk to the climate and their impact on Canada’s ability to meet national and international climate commitments.

The groups are calling on the full Senate to reject amendments from the Standing Committee on Energy, Environment and Natural Resources when Bill C-69 goes to third reading at the end of May.

“On the very day that the House of Commons debated the climate emergency, the Senate committee studying Bill C-69 voted to legally restrict the ability of federal assessments to study whether a project hinders Canada’s climate change commitments, after heavy lobbying by the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers.” says Julia Levin, Climate and Energy Program Manager, Environmental Defence.

“After three years of public consultations and hearings, the democratically elected House of Commons passed Bill C-69 with measures to support Canada’s efforts to achieve its climate targets.” says Stephen Hazell, director of policy and general counsel at Nature Canada. “It is irresponsible if not outright immoral for these unelected Senators to reject those measures in the last weeks of this Parliament.”

Bill C-69 went to the Senate in June 2018 and has just now finished being reviewed by the Standing Committee on Energy, Environment, and Natural Resources. The committee has proposed amendments that gut the extent to which climate is reviewed, gives more power to industry-captured regulators, and limit public participation. The Committee’s amendments will be debated at  third reading in the Senate at the end of May. Any amendments proposed by the Senate must be considered by  the House before the bill can become law.

“The Standing Committee has taken its marching orders from the fossil fuel industry,” says Joshua Ginsberg, lawyer for Ecojustice. “But the full Senate can and should reject these amendments and approve the legislation as originally tabled.”

Groups supporting this call to action include Climate Action Network, Ecojustice, Ecology Action Centre, Environmental Defence, Nature Canada, West Coast Environmental Law

For further information:

Julia Levin, Environmental Defence, 819-328-3452
Stephen Hazell, Nature Canada, 613-724-1908
Catherine Tunnicliffe, Ecojustice, 416-368-7533 ext 542

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