Canadian energy industry slams Liberals’ environmental assessment rules – by Shawn McCarthy (Globe and Mail – April 3, 2018)

The Liberal government’s Impact Assessment Act is getting harsh reviews from resource-industry executives, including a warning that the legislation would make it virtually impossible to build oil and gas pipelines in Canada.

Liberal ministers argue the legislation will restore Canadians’ trust in the regulatory process under which major resources projects are assessed, and will ensure good projects are approved and built in a timely manner.

Bill C-69 is currently being reviewed by the Commons environment committee, and industry witnesses have come with a litany of concerns. They point to the broad and ill-defined nature of the bill’s “sustainability” test under which regulators will not only assess environmental issues but broader social concerns such as Indigenous reconciliation and gender impacts.

While the legislation covers all types of mining and energy developments, the Liberals are attempting to reassure the public that politically contentious oil pipeline projects will be subject to rigorous, scientific and inclusive reviews.

In a scathing submission to the committee, the Canadian Energy Pipeline Association complained the government is chasing away energy-industry investment by creating new hurdles for projects.

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