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Canadian government to change environmental assessment rules

Click on the audio player to hear my report for Groundwire (National Campus and Community Radio Association) on new changes being proposed to environmental assessment rules in Canada.

The federal Conservative government is planning to change the rules that govern the environmental assessments of federal projects. These new rules, introduced in this year’s federal Budget, will now give the federal Minister of the Environment more power to minimize reviews of projects, thereby dramatically reducing the environmental review of any project that is funded by the federal government.

The new rules will gut the environmental review process and would never have been approved had the government not included the changes as part of the Budget Bill. Federal opposition parties oppose the changes but in order to stop them from being implemented, they would have to defeat the entire Budget Bill, thereby bringing down the government and forcing an election – something the Conservatives are betting (correctly) they would never do.

I spoke with John Bennett, the executive director of the Sierra Club of Canada and William Amos, a staff lawyer with EcoJustice.

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