Canadian government pledges to correct secretive environment policies

Oilsands projects that require high pressure steam injected deep underground were excluded from a list requiring mandatory environmental reviews.

Oilsands projects that require high pressure steam injected deep underground were excluded from a list requiring mandatory environmental reviews.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government has agreed to correct a murky and secretive review process for industrial projects, says a new audit tabled in the Canadian Parliament on Tuesday.

The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency, the National Energy Board and the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission all told auditors in the report that they would improve weaknesses identified by the audit, including a lack of transparency, the absence of documented evidence to support decisions on project approvals, and inadequate tools to allow for public and aboriginal participation in reviews.

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Canadian government declines interviews on oilsands health impacts

Participants in a June 2014 "healing walk" around oilsands facilities stop near a pond filled with toxic tailings waste.

Participants in a June 2014 “healing walk” around oilsands facilities, close to Fort McMurray, Alberta, stop near a pond filled with toxic tailings waste.

Who are Health Canada’s experts assessing human health impacts of oilsands development? And why has the federal government never done a comprehensive study of health impacts in the region after more than half a century of industrial development?

These are among the questions I asked Health Canada in early July as part of my research for this oilsands story published this week.

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Water pollution law meant to assist oilsands: Liberal MP

Published by Postmedia News on Thursday July 5, 2012

OTTAWA – New laws offering the government more tools to “authorize” water pollution appear to be designed to remove obstacles for expansion of Canada`s oilpatch, says a Liberal MP from Montreal who spearheaded a parliamentary investigation into the environmental footprint of the oilsands.

“I just found it curious that they’re trying to hide their motive,” said Francis Scarpaleggia, the Liberal water critic. “This is all being done for the oilsands. It’s not being done for the pulp and paper industry. They have their house in order.”

Scarpaleggia made the comments in response to recent Postmedia News reports about a letter signed by Fisheries and Oceans Minister Keith Ashfield that explained the government was amending the Canada`s Fisheries Act, previously considered to be the country’s strongest environmental protection law, in order to make it easier to “authorize” water pollution.

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