First Nations shut out of Jackpine oil sands hearing

Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press

By Kristen E. Courtney, Financial Post, 27 October 2012

A government review panel has denied dozens of First Nations people who live downstream from Shell Canada Ltd.’s Jackpine oil sands mine in Alberta the right to participate in environmental assessment hearings for the mine’s expansion, apparently due to problems with their applications. (…)

In a decision released last week, the federal-provincial panel established to review the Jackpine expansion ruled on who would be considered an “interested party,” which is now a prerequisite in order to participate at federal environmental assessment hearings.

The interested-party test is part of a new law passed by Parliament earlier this year that, many lawyers say, seems intended to limit public participation in environmental assessments of controversial projects. (…)

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Photo by Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press.