Monday, May 14, 2018


   Bill C-69 leaves the federal environment minister and cabinet with a lot of power over which industry projects that undergo environmental assessments are ultimately approved. Some of those powers are held over from the previous assessment process, while others are new.
   Under the bill, the environment minister would have the power to squash projects he or she feels are not in the public interest. The minister would also be able to set conditions on a proposed resource project’s approval—as is currently the case—requiring specific measures to mitigate harms caused by the project.
    The minister could also decide to reject projects before or after an environmental assessment is carried out. The federal cabinet is also allowed to weigh in collectively on whether projects are in the public interest and other decisions, and the lengthy bill allows the federal foreign affairs, natural resources, and finance ministers to be consulted or play minor roles in the implementation of the act and environmental assessments.
   The minister and cabinet could together decide to put off their decisions on approving projects, including pipelines, indefinitely, if they so chose, by taking and renewing extensions to deadlines set out in the act.

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