Did Conservatives mislead country on environmental assessment “delays”?

by Dianne Saxe on May 1, 2013

Canada’s environmental review process for projects such as oil and gas pipelines did not have backlogs or other unreasonable delays that would justify the timelines imposed by the federal government last year, according to a study in the respected Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences.

Researchers in the University of Toronto’s Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, led by PhD student. Derrick (Dak) de Kerckhove, analysed  tens of thousands of environmental reviews. Before the massive changes in last year’s Omnibus Bills, environmental reviews for most small projects were processed within a year, while most larger projects were processed within two years. They concluded that environmental reviews were surprisingly efficient before the changes, and commensurate with the risks posed by different kinds of projects. If the Conservatives had wanted to improve efficiency without reducing environmental protection, there were much better options available, such as standardized review templates, and good data and analysis of any delays.

Listen to his interview with CBC Radio’s As It Happens.

Mr. Kerckhove’s work was the first of its kind. If so, what science were the Conservatives using when they changed  the law last year? Anecdotes from proponents…

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