NEWS RELEASE · 31st March 2012
MP Nathan Cullen - Ottawa
Retroactively applying new, tighter deadlines for environmental assessments to the Northern Gateway Project “entirely changes the rules of the game” and lays an already heated process wide open to costly, time-consuming court cases, says MP Nathan Cullen.
“I’ve never heard of a government changing everything halfway through. They’re rigging the entire process and they’re not ashamed of it,” Cullen told reporters.
Finance Minister Jim Flaherty announced yesterday that major resource projects will receive only one “streamlined” environmental assessment review lasting no longer than 24 months. Currently, major resource projects can take as long six years to approve. Flaherty confirmed the changes include the proposed Enbridge dual pipeline that would transport raw bitumen and condensate between the Alberta oilsands and Asian markets.
That could mean Enbridge hearings that began in February before a Joint Review Panel of the National Energy Board and the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency would finish in May of this year. That is a full year-and-a-half before hearings are scheduled to end and would silence the voices of thousands of individuals and groups who have registered to make oral statements before the panel.
Cullen pointed to the widespread outrage that has erupted in British Columbia since changes to the Enbridge environmental assessment process were announced yesterday.
“We’ve been hearing from stunned constituents all day who cannot believe the arrogance of this government and the utter disregard it has for a full examination of the huge environmental impacts and risks of the Enbridge pipeline,” Cullen said.
He noted the comments of Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs earlier today, warning of “battle in the courtrooms and on the land itself” if Conservatives follow through on plans to speed up the environmental review process for Enbridge.
Cullen called the new tighter environmental assessment deadlines “a rubber stamp that is not good for business or the environment.” He noted yesterday that one major terrestrial or marine oil spill associated with the Enbridge project would cost millions to clean up and wipe out established multi-million dollar salmon and adventure tourism economies in the Northwest.
Comment by wayne anderson on 2nd April 2012
So Harper's going to "streamline the environmental review process" and apply the new rules to the Gateway review currently under way.
There's a word for people who change the rules during the game because they know they can't win otherwise.
That word is "CHEATER".
Then again, what else should we have expected from a government who won a majority by fraudulent means?
Changing the rules
Comment by c. sandecki on 1st April 2012
This is typical Harper government behaviour -- when the game looks lost, move the goal posts.
Democracy is so cumbersome.
Comment by Helmut Giesbrecht on 1st April 2012
The whole democratic idea of consulting with people when you decide how best to represent them, is such a lot of work, takes so much time and is often more expensive. Much better to live under a benevolent dictatorship. Of course our glorious leader, or whatever we want to call him, may not always be as benevolent as we dream and he may not even care what we think. He may not even believe in democracy when it does not suit him.
WE have to speed up the process to get a resource out of the ground and sell it to Asia. It is not going anywhere, it will only be worth more as time passes, it is the wealth of future generations. Why are we in such a hurry? Better still why is the government in such a hurry?
I want my say....
Comment by Pat#1 on 31st March 2012
I followed the rules, like many thousand others to have our say in "Oral Statements'. I have long waited to have my say. How dare Minster Flaherty step in, flex his 'appointed' muscle (sic) and trample our right to be heard.
Enbridge will be the death of the Northwest...
Comment by James Ippel on 31st March 2012
I neither agree or disagree that Enbridge be included in the new rules.
I will comment on the fact that these reviews /assessments take far to long, and two years seems like a reasonable time. They are very costly, and need not be dragged out indefinately.
I find the statement "battle in the courtrooms and ""on the land itself"" to be inflamitory and threatening. Why is it that if a certain segment in our society cannot have their own way, they seem to be quite free to disrupt the lives of others without retribution. This not right.
Comment by bill braam on 31st March 2012
I am not a tree-hugger, PETA advocate, NDP (or conservative) supporter, eco-nut, or unloyal to Canada but I know that what is happening here is just plain wrong. They should not be shortening up this review. Perhaps this is a perfect storm developing as Mr Cullen gains political strength and the furor from the common law abiding person combine to stop this in any (legal) way possible. Thank you.
Who's going to get the jobs
Comment by anon on 31st March 2012
My bet is stevens new constituents in china.
We already know how he feels about unions and where he spends our hard earned money . The only money he has is the money he got from us but he still thinks it's his.