Was the Oil and Gas Lobby Behind Bill C-38?

A report released in December 2013 by ForestEthics alleges that recent changes to Canada’s Environmental Assessment Act under Bill C-38 were drawn from a report from the Energy Policy Institute (EPIC), an organization whose members include all the major oil and gas companies. EPIC’s recommendations, written in August 2012 but only recently uncovered, included eliminating external costs including climate change, greenhouse gas emissions, and upstream and downstream effects from energy project analysis, completing assessments early and only asking for details later, and excluding effects that are common to other projects. Who Writes the Rules? A Report on Oil Industry Influence, Government Laws and the Corrosion of Public Process asserts that Bill C-38 violates the public right to voice opinions during project review processes. The bill granted the National Energy Board (NEB) the authority to select hearing participants from those who submitted a newly-required nine-page application. Further, all concerns regarding external costs, such as downstream health effects, can no longer be included in project analysis.

Similar concerns were voiced in a December 2012 report from the Polaris Institute, which said federal cabinet ministers met six major oil industry players 53 times during the year Bill-38 was being developed. During the same period, a minister met an environmental group only once.

Read the backgrounder for Who Writes the Rules? A Report on Oil Industry Influence, Government Laws and the Corrosion of Public Process at:  http://www.forestethics.org//sites/forestethics.huang.radicaldesigns.org/files/ForestEthicsAdvocacy_Who-Writes-The-Rules-BACKGROUNDER.pdf, and the full report at: http://forestethics.org/sites/forestethics.huang.radicaldesigns.org/files/Who_writes_the_rules.pdf.

Big Oil’s Oily Grasp (2012) by the Polaris Institute is available at: http://polarisinstitute.org/bigoilsoilygrasp.

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