Saturday, February 14, 2009

Critics say new federal legislation will damage waterways

This is from Canwest.

This is an example of the Great Leap Backward on environmentalism while talking progressively about following the Obama lead to better environmental policies. Layton was quite right in saying that the Harper government cannot be trusted. I wonder what Ignatieff will have to say about this? Is this a violation of Harper's probation. Ignatieff will hold his peace or make a few harmless noises.

Critics say new federal legislation will damage waterways

Tory amendment to existing act could mean various projects will be exempt from environmental assessments

By Juliet O'Neill, Canwest News ServiceFebruary 12, 2009

Canadians face a potential loss of waterways from the stroke of a politician's pen under measures the government "smuggled" into Parliament in the budget bill, critics said Wednesday.
The government's proposed amendments to the Navigable Waters Protection Act removes an automatic trigger for federal environmental assessment for the building of dams, bridges, booms, causeways and other structures that may shorten or ruin the navigability of a waterway.
"You're not going to fix the economy by wrecking the environment," said Will Amos, staff lawyer for the University of Ottawa-Ecojustice Environmental Law Clinic.
They concluded the amendments would allow "unfettered discretion" by the federal transport minister to exempt projects or waterways from environmental oversight. Since some projects would interfere with navigation, it said, the federal government would be abandoning its constitutional jurisdiction over navigation.
Amos expressed "justified fear" that municipal and provincial micro-hydro dam projects will be exempt. He predicted "a cascading effect" on communities located beside creeks and rivers, and on tourism, camping, hunting, fishing and on some farmers who depend on water flows for irrigation.
The amendments would allow the federal cabinet or the transport minister to exempt "classes of works" and "classes of waterways" from oversight under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act. Transport Minister John Baird has said the waterways amendments are intended to remove an antiquated regulatory burden from developers and governments for "shovel ready" projects to stimulate the economy.
© Copyright (c) Canwest News Service

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