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Liberal authorities accepts dozens of Senate amendments to C-69, rejects bulk of Tory adjustments

The federal Liberal authorities has accepted some substantial Senate adjustments to its environmental evaluation overhaul laws — however has rejected 90 per cent of these proposed by Conservative parliamentarians that environmental teams warned would weaken the overview course of.

The Senate handed an unprecedented 188 amendments to Invoice C-69 after months of examine and a cross-country committee tour to areas most affected by adjustments to the pure sources and vitality regulatory regime. All instructed, the federal government has accepted 62 of these Senate amendments verbatim and accepted 37 others with some substantial tweaks.

The laws shall be now despatched again to the Senate, which should settle for the Liberal authorities’s adjustments if the laws is to be handed into legislation.

The federal government has accepted dozens of amendments proposed by a multi-partisan group of senators — particularly, language that can strengthen the function of the provinces within the overview course of and adjustments that can restrict the flexibility of the atmosphere minister to start out and cease undertaking overview timelines (the federal government has agreed a lot of that energy ought to fall to the brand new regulatory company, the Impression Evaluation Company). It additionally has given the company extra energy to resolve who must be allowed to take part in regulatory hearings.

Whereas the amended invoice says the general public will nonetheless have a chance to “participate meaningfully” in these hearings, the federal government has accepted a Senate change that requires participation “in a manner that the agency considers appropriate.”

That change is necessary to trade teams who feared that, by eliminating the “standing test” solely, the federal government risked permitting folks with tenuous connections to a undertaking — environmental activists specifically — to overwhelm regulatory hearings, to the detriment of events immediately affected by the undertaking.

The federal government additionally affirmed legislated timelines for a way lengthy it’ll take for a undertaking to undergo the evaluation course of. The federal cupboard will retain the “final decision” on approving main sources initiatives.

Liberal authorities accepts dozens of Senate amendments to C-69, rejects bulk of Tory adjustments 1
Minister of Setting and Local weather Change Catherine McKenna: “(Conservatives) want us to copy and paste recommendations written by oil lobbyists.” (Frank Gunn/Canadian Press)

“We’re accepting amendments that would depoliticize the process, reducing the minister’s discretion in favour of the impact assessment agency,” Setting Minister Catherine McKenna stated. “We is not going to be accepting amendments that weaken the principles.

“Let’s be clear on what Conservative politicians need. They wish to substitute environmental overview with (a) pipeline approval course of. They need us to repeat and paste suggestions written by oil lobbyists.

“That’s why we rejected 90 per cent of the Conservative amendments. They’re unacceptable to us and they’re unacceptable to Canadians.”

Nevertheless, a few of the amendments the federal government accepted — adjustments to the general public participation course of, for instance — have been proposed by teams just like the Canadian Affiliation of Petroleum Producers (CInternetP).

Among the many rejected amendments have been these the federal government noticed as diluting provisions of the invoice relating to Indigenous peoples — provisions the federal government has introduced as one of the best ways to keep away from a few of authorized pitfalls the Trans Mountain pipeline growth undertaking skilled because of Indigenous-led litigation.

The invoice, as initially written, stated the minister “must” take into consideration any adversarial impacts {that a} undertaking could have on the rights of Indigenous peoples earlier than deciding whether or not to place a undertaking via a federal overview. A Senate modification modified “must” to “may.”

The federal government additionally has restored language that ensures a undertaking overview should think about “any” change occurring in Canada to the well being, social or financial circumstances of Indigenous peoples. Business teams stated that stipulation could be too heavy a burden for undertaking proponents.

The federal government additionally has rejected a phrase change designed to restrict the environmental overview course of to “significant” adversarial results alone. The qualifier “significant” did not make the minimize.

The federal government rejected Senate amendments to the preamble of the laws that have been designed to prioritize financial concerns within the assessments course of, together with environmental safety. The federal government has rejected references to “providing certainty to investors and stakeholders and driving innovation.”

The federal government rejected amendments that might have supplied for extra participation by municipalities within the course of, and Senate adjustments that might have allowed offshore petroleum board regulators — like these from the Canada-Newfoundland & Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board — to sit down on evaluation panels. Environmentalists have stated these boards have been “co-opted” by undertaking proponents.

Extra to return.

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