Budget bill gives Harper cabinet free hand on environmental assessments


The Harper government is giving a wide range of new powers to cabinet ministers to decide the scope of environmental assessments, as it proceeds with an omnibus budget bill that overhauls the way Ottawa will review major resource projects. Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver has promoted the legislative changes as providing greater certainty to investors keen to develop Canada’s vast resources. But in some major ways, the government will make the system more opaque and subject to ministerial discretion.

The March budget and resulting legislation is as much about speeding up decision-making on resource projects like oil sands pipelines and new mines across the country, as it is about government finances.

Conservative House Leader Peter Van Loan confirmed Wednesday the government will not split the budget bill as opposition have demanded, but will send the environmental amendments to a special subcommittee.

Read full article here.

Shawn Mccarthy – Globe and Mail – June 18, 2012.

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