CALGARY — Simon Dyer, policy director at the Pembina Institute, made the following statement in response to Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver’s announcement that the federal government will weaken environmental oversight of resource development projects:
“With the proposed changes to the federal environmental review process, Canadians will get weaker, less-informed decision-making, sloppy environmental protection by resource developers, and an increased likelihood of environmental impacts.
“Independent observers like the Royal Society of Canada have stated that Canada needs to strengthen its role in environmental assessment in the oilsands, but the federal government’s plan takes Canada in the opposite direction.
“At a time when the level of proposed resource development — particularly in the oilsands — is increasing, the federal government needs to enhance its oversight of these projects. The government may say it is committed to more efficient and effective decision-making, but its plans to cut the budget of the agency charged with making those decisions by 40 per cent undermines the government’s ability to deliver on that commitment.
“The federal environmental review process is generally more rigorous than provincial assessments and evidence suggests provinces like Alberta do not have adequate capacity to properly review projects on their own. There is no question that the federal government’s proposed changes will unnecessarily weaken environmental protection for Canadians.”
The following documents indicate that some provinces lack the capacity to properly assess the environmental impacts of resource development projects: