Environmental review process under attack

Editor:

Recently, I wrote a letter to the editor regarding the BC Environmental Assessment Office.

Editor:

Recently, I wrote a letter to the editor regarding the BC Environmental Assessment Office, which has been reduced to a rubber-stamp operation by under-funding, a method often chosen by governments to make ineffective a body to which they are ideologically opposed.

I would like to quote from the fall 2011 issue of BC Nature:

“A recent (July 2011) report by the B.C. auditor general found that the BC Environmental Assessment Office has not been providing sufficient oversight of certified projects to ensure that potential significant adverse effects are avoided or mitigated (http://www.bcauditor.com/pubs/2011/report4/audit-bc-environmental-assessment-office-EAO).

“The North West Institute (NWI) in Smithers has just released another, even more critical report by environmental lawyer Mark Haddock, which compares the parallel but separate assessments of the Prosperity Mine project in central B.C. but the BC Environmental Assessment Office and the Canadian Environmental Assessment Office.

“In its press release, the NWI concludes that the B.C. EAO recommendation to approve the Prosperity Mine was based ‘on incomplete evidence and was the result of a hurried, flawed and less-than-objective process conducted by the agency.’

“The NWI report is available on its website, http://www.northwestinstitute.ca.

“While the NWI report found that the federal environmental assessment of the Prosperity Mine was more thorough and open, the federal government has recently slashed CEAA’s 2012-2013 budget by more than 43 per cent and CEAA is being forced to reduce its full-time staff by one third. Following on a 6.9 per cent cut in the 2010-2011 budget, CEAA now has 50 per cent less funding than it did two years ago, while the federal government is subsidizing the oil and gas industry to the tune of $1.4 billion.”

It was only a matter of time until the Canadian Environmental Assessment Office would be similarly attacked by the federal Conservative government.

Reg Beck

Williams Lake

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