Federal Government Weakens Environmental Assessment Rules Further

Environmentalists are up in arms after the federal government amended the rules dictating which natural resource extraction projects require federal environmental assessments in late October. According to Greenpeace, many activities associated with oil sands expansion are absent from the new list, notably in situ oil extraction, which uses steam to pump up oil from reservoirs that are deep underground. The method is expected to comprise 80% of oil sands extraction.

See the very brief government announcement of the changes at the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency website at: http://www.ceaa-acee.gc.ca/default.asp?lang=en&xml=0DDF9560-6A8A-4403-B33A-B906AC6A1D93, and the National Energy Board summary at: http://www.neb-one.gc.ca/clf-nsi/rthnb/nws/nwsrls/2013/ceaa-acee2013-10-25-eng.html.

“New environmental review rules anger oilsands critics” at the CBC website at: http://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/new-environmental-review-rules-anger-oilsands-critics-1.2252074 summarizes reaction and history.

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