URGENT! Help us fix the broken environmental assessment process

October 5, 2019
Tracey Saxby

We are furious, and we need your help.

For the last five years we've been saying that the environmental assessment process is completely broken... and right now, when we have a chance to fix it, the BC Environmental Assessment Office (BC EAO) has proposed changes that will make it even worse.

In fact, under these proposed changes neither Woodfibre LNG or the FortisBC pipeline would trigger an environmental assessment!

That is crazy!

As we collectively face a deepening climate crisis and the threatened extinction of hundreds of thousands of species, it is imperative that our governments develop stronger and tougher laws to protect the lands and waters we all depend on.

BC’s new Environmental Assessment Act, passed in November 2018, won’t come into force until new regulations are developed that determine how the Act will work in practice. The proposed regulations fall far short of what is needed.

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Why are we so concerned?

One of the proposed triggers to launch an environmental assessment is greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs). This seems like a good step, except that the proposed threshold is 382,000 tonnes of GHGs per year - that is equivalent to 1% of our entire GHG budget for 2030! This is way too high and would only catch a handful of the biggest climate polluting projects. For example, Woodfibre LNG is far under this proposed threshold and wouldn't trigger an environmental assessment! If we are going to meet our climate targets, we have to take GHG emissions seriously as part of the review process.

Another proposed threshold for triggering an environmental assessment is at least 60 km of new linear disturbance. Under this threshold, the FortisBC pipeline from Eagle Mountain to Woodfibre also wouldn't trigger an environmental assessment! FortisBC already rigged their pipeline so that it was under 50 km to avoid a more rigorous federal environmental assessment. With these proposed changes, it wouldn't trigger a provincial assessment either!

The BC EAO has allowed industry to dictate what will trigger an environmental assessment!

The proposed regulations seem to be designed to suggest change on paper while doing little to alter the status quo in practice. This is unacceptable and won’t result in the changes we need to protect the lands and waters in this time of environmental crisis.

BC is seeking public input until October 7th. Can you take a few minutes to add your voice?

STEP 1 Download the EA Intentions Paper

STEP 2 Fill out the public engagement survey

DEADLINE Monday 7th October

Submit comments

Tips on the public engagement survey

The BC Environmental Assessment Office doesn't really WANT you to participate, so they've set up a confusing survey and they're hoping you won't respond.

Thankfully, with our help it will only take a few minutes. For any questions you don’t know, you can select the ‘don’t know/no opinion’ option and move on to the questions where you have input.

Here are a couple of specific recommendations you might consider including:

Submit comments

This review of the environmental assessment process is intended to rebuild public trust. But the BC government is way off base with their current proposed regulations for environmental assessments. Please add your voice today to ensure we have strong environmental regulations for new and existing projects.

With thanks,

Tracey + Eoin

My Sea to Sky

P.S. For more information, you can read our letter here. Note that only organizations can send letters to inform this process (not individuals)!

P.P.S. Our good friends at West Coast Environmental Law have a useful article summarizing the main issues with the proposed regulations. Please take a read and fill out the BC government's survey today!


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