Feds Announce New Environmental Assessment Process – Update
Ottawa, On – The federal government has announced a new strategy it says will restore trust in environmental assessments in this country.
According to Ottawa, the government will introduce new environmental assessment processes where public input “will be sought and considered.”
“Decisions will be informed by scientific evidence,” reads a government news release. “Indigenous peoples will be more fully engaged in reviewing and monitoring major resource development projects. The process will have greater transparency.”
The new process will be guided by the following principals:
1. No project proponent will be asked to return to the starting line – project reviews will continue within the current legislative framework and in accordance with treaty provisions, under the auspices of relevant responsible authorities and Northern regulatory boards;
2. Decisions will be based on science, traditional knowledge or Indigenous peoples and other relevant evidence;
3. The views of the public and affected communities will be sought and considered;
4. Indigenous peoples will be meaningfully consulted, and where appropriate, impacts on their rights and interests will be accommodated; and
5. Direct and upstream greenhouse gas emissions linked to the projects under review will be assessed.
However at least one First Nations chief isn’t sold on the new process.
“I think there has to be more discussion on how this whole process is redeveloped,” says Tribal Chief Terry Teegee of the Carrier Sekani Tribal Council. “I think is a band-aid solution to an already flawed process so I think there’s going to be more concerns in terms of indigenous people being meaningfully consulted and or making decisions on major projects.”
So what would he would have liked to have seen from the federal government?
“I think for us as indigenous people we need to be more of a decision maker on projects and we’ve been pretty clear with that.”