NEWS RELEASE · 31st March 2010
Simon Dyer, Oil Sands Director for the Pembina Institute, made the following statement in response to measures in Finance Minister Jim Flaherty's Budget Implementation Bill (Part 20, Environmental Assessment, Bill C-9) that empower the federal government to avoid full environmental assessment of oil sands development:
“Over the past several years the Government of Canada has been trying to dodge its responsibilities for environmental assessment of proposed oil sands development. This has led to a number of successful court challenges in which it was deemed that the government was not fulfilling its obligation to assess projects and protect the environmental interests of Canadians.
“The measures included in Bill C-9 make it clear that instead of stepping up to fulfill their environmental responsibilities, the government wants to step out on them.
“Environment Minister Jim Prentice has been talking tough about oil sands development, but he's walking in the opposite direction. If passed, these measures will grant him the legal discretion to turn a blind eye and ignore the environmental impacts of oil sands development.
“We are very concerned about these measures as they are the exact opposite of what the federal government needs to do to address the environmental impacts of oil sands development. Actions like this will only further damage Canada's international reputation.”