Pros And Cons Of The New Environmental Assessment Law
The Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (CEAA) is an evaluation process for various economic projects. It aims to check for the environmental impact of these projects (the extent of damage that could be incurred). It is a comprehensive three-phased process where the Environment Assessment Office (EAO) goes through your application for approval and either approves or rejects the project. The three phases include the pre-application phase, the application review phase, and the final decision by the Minister of Environment and Climate change strategy.
Recently, there were new changes proposed to this Environmental law. And time has testified that change always attracts polarized opinion. In this case, there are experts who are focused on the downsides of the amendments and on the other hand, there are opinion leaders who are happy about the positives of the new Environmental Assessment Law.
Aims to Achieve Environmental Conservation
The environmental assessment law does justice to the responsibility it has at hand. It effectively filters out projects that can have hazardous effects on various environmental components. This is crucial to ensure economic development that is in conjunction with environmental conservation. The Environmental Assessment Act acts as a regulatory body that keeps an eye on the environmental impact of various industrial projects.
Protects Components of the Environment
While the Act focuses on achieving a balance between economic development and environmental conservation, it also focuses on protecting every component of the environment. Be it the water bodies such as lakes, rivers, and seas; land masses such as mountains, plateaus, etcs; or the quality of air. The bodies associated with the environmental assessment law actively protect every aspect of the environment.
Loss of Trust
Over the years, people have lost trust in the institutions and governing bodies that are involved with the Environmental Assessment Act. A post by Policy Options Politique explains this well when they say, "Once lost, trust is not something that is easily regained. Band-Aid solutions that seek to remedy the deep-seated flaws of processes by annexing new reviews, have little or no chance of restoring trust, let alone the social licence upon which such projects must ultimately depend." Time and again, efforts have been made to change the situation. Things like creating a new consultation panel post the review of the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Expansion Project were done in an attempt to win the trust of the people.
The Need for a New Approach
The current approach of the environmental assessment law is majorly focused on preventing any environmental hazards as a result of the project concerned. While this approach works in the short run, it does not significantly contribute towards the goal of sustainability. So, while all governing bodies are focused on reducing pollution, they ought to stress on another aspect as well - How is the project contributing to environmental sustainability? This is a more full rounded approach and can go a long way on helping corporations actively contribute towards the environment’s conservation and sustainability.
These were some of the pros and cons of the environmental law in Canada. Refer to our previous blog for more information on environmental laws in Canada.