I am pleased to share with you yesterday’s announcement on changes to the environmental assessment process. These changes will apply to the Kinder Morgan project and on a going forward basis to all projects.
Protecting the environment and growing the economy are not incompatible goals; in fact, our future success demands that we do both.
As stated in the Speech from the Throne, the Government will introduce new environmental assessment processes as part of our efforts to restore public trust. Public input will be sought and considered. Decisions will be informed by scientific evidence. Indigenous peoples will be more fully engaged in reviewing and monitoring major resource development projects. The process will have greater transparency.
Addressing climate change in Canada will require collaboration with Canada’s provinces and territories to incorporate greenhouse gas emissions in environmental assessment processes and as part of a national climate change framework. To inform these processes, upstream greenhouse gas emissions associated with projects under review will be assessed.
Canadians understand that review and changes will take time. In the interim, the Government remains responsible for making decisions related to projects being assessed while that review is under way.
The following principles are intended to provide greater certainty as to how the Government of Canada will be guided in the application of its discretionary decision-making authorities for projects being assessed during the review of environmental assessment processes:
- 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;
- Decisions will be based on science, traditional knowledge of Indigenous peoples and other relevant evidence;
- The views of the public and affected communities will be sought and considered;
- Indigenous peoples will be meaningfully consulted, and where appropriate, impacts on their rights and interests will be accommodated; and
- Direct and upstream greenhouse gas emissions linked to the projects under review will be assessed.
During the interim period, timely decisions on individual projects will depend upon the provision of sufficient information and evidence in accordance with these principles. Where required, steps will be taken to gather additional evidence.
Interim Measures for Pipeline Reviews
The Government of Canada has introduced five principles that will guide its decision-making on major natural resource projects while the Government undertakes a review of environmental assessment processes. For two significant projects currently under review by the National Energy Board (NEB), the Trans Mountain Expansion project and Energy East Pipeline project, the Government of Canada will immediately take steps to ensure consistency with these principles.
Trans Mountain Expansion Project
The Government of Canada will:
- Undertake deeper consultations with Indigenous peoples and provide funding to support participation in these consultations;
- Assess the upstream greenhouse gas emissions associated with this project and make this information public; and,
- Appoint a Ministerial Representative to engage communities, including Indigenous communities potentially affected by the project, to seek their views and report back to the Minister of Natural Resources.