Federal Government to announce new environmental assessment rules for major projects

Pipes that will form the Keystone XL pipeline. Photo by Alex Panetta/The Canadian Press

OTTAWA, O.N. – The federal government will unveil a long-promised overhaul today
of the environmental assessment process for major projects.

The announcement comes as Alberta and British Columbia are engaged in an escalating battle over the Trans Mountain oil pipeline expansion that would see more crude flow to the west coast from Alberta’s oilsands.

Environment Minister Catherine McKenna says the assessments will have to weigh several factors — including job creation, economic benefits, Indigenous concerns and the overall effects of projects on the environment.

The new process is built on two years of consultations, focus groups, expert panels and discussion papers.

McKenna and an army of other cabinet ministers will fan out across the country today to promote the legislation, which is expected to create a single assessment system for all projects.

The hope is to provide clarity for investors and project proponents to know exactly what they’ll have to do to get a project approved and how long it will take.

McKenna says there will be no surprises in the legislation.

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, meanwhile, says the fight over Trans Mountain would not be happening if the Liberals had delivered earlier on their long-promised overhaul.


(The Canadian Press)