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Why oilpatch suits are trying to boot Bill C-69
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Why oilpatch suits are trying to boot Bill C-69

Bill C-69 is a modest piece of legislation designed to improve how the federal government assesses and approves major development projects such as pipelines and  hydro dams, and restore public trust at the same time. Bill C-69 was passed by the House of Commons in June, after over two years of public consultations, expert panel reviews, and House of Commons debate and committee hearings. But now “Suits and Boots”, an oil and gas industry campaign, is lobbying Senators to defeat Bill C-69 by delaying final votes on the bill so it dies on the order paper in June when Parliament adjourns. In an article published in the Hill Times on October 24,  Stephen Hazell, Nature Canada’s director of policy and general counsel, explains why the arguments put forward by Suits and Boots are rubbish, and why Bill C-69, while far from perfect in terms of nature conservation, represents a significant improvement on the current failed law.

Click here for the entire article.

Oil industry, Notley opposition to Bill C-69 “wildly inaccurate,” environmental groups say  Pushback is an attempt to bypass crucial environmental oversight
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Oil industry, Notley opposition to Bill C-69 “wildly inaccurate,” environmental groups say Pushback is an attempt to bypass crucial environmental oversight

For immediate release - October 4, 2018 OTTAWA - A number of Canada’s leading environmental groups are calling out the oil and gas industry and other critics of Bill C-69 for what they say is false rhetoric about important improvements to key environmental laws. “There has been a lot of rubbish circulating about Bill C-69,” says Anna Johnston, a staff lawyer with the West Coast Environmental Law Association. “A very small, very vocal group out of the oilpatch has been spreading wildly inaccurate claims in order to kill some critical fixes to our environmental laws.” Bill C-69 introduces a new Impact Assessment Act to replace the existing Canadian Environmental Assessment Act 2012 (CEAA 2012), and reconfigures the National Energy Board. “These changes are not major,” says Josh Ginsberg, Director of Legislative Affairs at Ecojustice Canada. “The Impact Assessment Act is largely modelled on legislation we’ve had for decades, with some key improvements designed to enhance environmental protection while streamlining the process for proponents. And the Canadian Energy Regulator Act does not ‘kill’ the National Energy Board, as many are claiming. It simply gives the NEB a new name and adds some much-needed accountability measures.” Critics of the Bill state that it directs the government to consider too many potential effects of proposals, like climate impacts. Last week, Alberta Premier Rachel Notley cautioned that the Bill may amount to jurisdictional overreach because it requires the government to consider the social and health effects of projects, a claim that lawyers say is unfounded. “Nonsense,” says Stephen Hazell, Director of conservation and general counsel with Nature Canada. “Canada has been assessing the social and health impacts of projects for decades. The Supreme Court of Canada has affirmed the federal government’s constitutional authority to do so, and for almost 20 years our original environmental assessment law listed health and social considerations as factors to consider. This isn’t new.” The Bill has also been under fire for requiring consideration of the documented gendered impacts of resource development, for example when there is an influx of largely male workers to work on a project, something Johnston says is concerning. “Natural resource development tends to disproportionately impact women. That’s a fact. To suggest that we wouldn’t try to avoid things like increased sexual assault and teen pregnancy is frankly quite shocking,” she says. The previous federal government introduced CEAA 2012 at the request of the oil and gas industry, buried in omnibus “budget” Bill C-38 with no consultation or amendments. “Climate polluters already tried in 2012 to game the project review process and silence public input, but their attempts backfired and led to the gridlock we see today,” says Patrick DeRochie, Climate and Energy Program Manager with Environmental Defence. “In 2015, Canadians handed the federal government a strong mandate to repair and strengthen their environmental safety net. The oil and gas industry is going to have to learn to play by the rules, just like everyone else.” Bill C-69 follows more than two years of consultations, including public reviews by parliamentary committees and two independent expert panels. All affected industry sectors, environmental groups, the public and Indigenous peoples were invited to engage on multiple successive proposals before the Bill was drafted, and a House of Commons committee heard from over 100 witnesses. “The petroleum industry may not have gotten everything it wanted, but neither did we,” says Lindsay Telfer, National Director, Canadian Freshwater Alliance “We are not supporting this legislation because it is exactly what we want, we are supporting it because it reflects a compromise we can live with, one that meets the needs of all sectors and Canadians.” Bill C-69 is currently being reviewed by the Senate and is expected to pass early next year. -30-


For more information, please contact: Anna Johnston | Staff Lawyer, West Coast Environmental Law Association 604-340-2304, ajohnston@wcel.org (in Ottawa) Stephen Hazell | Director of Conservation and General Counsel, Nature Canada 613-724-1908, shazell@naturecanada.ca Supporting organizations: West Coast Environmental Law Association, Nature Canada, Ecojustice, Environmental Defence Canada, Canadian Freshwater Alliance, Centre québécois du droit de l'environnement (CQDE)
 

Expert Advisory Panel Members Announced
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Expert Advisory Panel Members Announced

[caption id="attachment_27983" align="alignleft" width="150"]Image of Tejal Mistry Tejal Mistry, Conservation Coordinator[/caption] The membership and Terms of Reference for the Expert Advisory Panel on Environmental Assessment was announced today.  The members are Joanne Gelinas, Doug Horswill, Renée Pelletier and Rod Northey.  Nature Canada is pleased with both the terms of reference and the membership and we look forward to working with the Panel in the coming weeks to develop proposals for the next generation of laws to ensure that development is sustainable and nature is conserved. This Panel is just one part of a suite of reviews of environmental laws, as Stephen Hazell described in his June 20th blog .   Stay tuned for information and analysis as all these processes move forward, as well as opportunities to raise your voice for nature.  We need Nature Canada’s members and supporters to speak up together to ensure that the Expert Advisory Panel makes the best recommendations for nature. To read more about the review of Environmental Assessment Processes, click here.

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Transfer of Govenlock Grasslands to Environment Canada Important Step towards Protection
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Transfer of Govenlock Grasslands to Environment Canada Important Step towards Protection

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE July 30, 2015 (Ottawa, ON) — The transfer of over 200 square kilometres of important short-grass prairie at Govenlock in southwestern Saskatchewan to Environment Canada is an important step towards protecting grasslands and threatened grassland wildlife says Nature Canada. “Congratulations to Environment Minister Aglukkaq, Environment Canada officials and the local ranching community in achieving this outcome” says Eleanor Fast, Executive Director of Nature Canada. “Transferring these lands to Environment Canada will now allow consultations to begin on establishing a National Wildlife Area to protect the Govenlock grasslands and the numerous species at risk that live there, while at the same time providing for continuing livestock production and respecting local community interests.” “This important decision should be part of a larger plan to conserve native grasslands—the most imperilled ecosystem in Canada” says Stephen Hazell, Director of Conservation and Legal Counsel. “There are tremendous opportunities to conserve native grasslands and grassland wildlife species at many of the other 182 community pastures that were formerly managed by the Prairie Farm Rehabilitation Administration. For example, the Battle Creek and Nashlyn community pastures, which are adjacent to Govenlock and are of similar area and importance for nature, should also considered for special conservation management.” The government’s announcement is online at NewsWire. -30- About Nature Canada Nature Canada is the oldest national nature conservation charity in Canada. Over the past 75 years, Nature Canada has helped protect over 63 million acres of parks and wildlife areas in Canada and countless species that depend on this habitat. Today, Nature Canada represents a network of more than 45,000 members and supporters and more than 350 nature organizations across the country, with affiliates in every province. Nature Canada focuses on effecting change on issues of national significance including bird conservation,  citizen science initiatives, urban nature initiatives, building a national network of conservation organizations, building a network of volunteers to care for critical natural habitat sites across Canada and being a voice for nature at the federal level. Media contact: Stephen Hazell Director of Conservation and General Counsel 613 724-1908 (mobile) shazell@naturecanada.ca

Nature Canada welcomes our new interim Executive Director, Stephen Hazell
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Nature Canada welcomes our new interim Executive Director, Stephen Hazell

March 10, 2014 (Ottawa) – Nature Canada is pleased to announce Stephen Hazell as our new interim Executive Director. Stephen comes to Nature Canada with enormous experience on a breadth of environmental issues, having previously held senior management positions in four national environmental organizations, a federal government agency, a leading Ottawa-based consulting firm, and as the founder of Ecovision Law. Departing Executive Director, Ian Davidson, will stay on with Nature Canada in an advisory capacity before leaving in March to take up a new Director’s position at the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation based in Washington, DC. Ian leaves Nature Canada with a renewed enthusiasm for the power of grassroots organizations across the country and a pride in having worked with people and organizations committed to nature conservation. Nature Canada’s board and staff wish to express our deepest appreciation to Ian for his superb leadership over the past five years. Stephen will be guiding the organization as it begins a recruitment process for a new permanent Executive Director. -30- [one_half][separator headline="h2" title="About Nature Canada:"] Nature Canada is the oldest national nature conservation charity in Canada. Over the past 75 years, we’ve helped protect over 63 million acres of parks and wildlife areas in Canada and the countless species that depend on this habitat. Today, we represent a network of over 45,000 members & supporters and more than 350 nature organizations in every province across Canada. Our mission is to protect and conserve nature in Canada by engaging Canadians and by advocating on behalf of nature. [/one_half] [one_half_last][separator headline="h2" title="Media contacts:"] Paul Jorgenson, Senior Communications Manager, Nature Canada 613-562-3447 ext. 248 pjorgenson@naturecanada.ca Monica Tanaka, Communications Coordinator, Nature Canada 613-562-3447 ext 241 mtanaka@naturecanada.ca [/one_half_last]  

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