The wisdom of messy, democratic assessments

By Jay Ritchlin, Special to The Sun, 2 May 2012

Northern Gateway, Prosperity Mine, Jumbo Glacier: Balancing environmental protection against economic and social benefits of big projects is seldom easy. It’s often ponderous, complex and messy. And that’s if the assessment is done properly.

The new environmental regime outlined in the federal budget on March 29 will likely expedite and tidy up assessments. But if history is correct, it will ultimately lead to greater conflict and lower standards of environmental protection. […]

Under the new “streamlined” federal process, only one environmental assessment would be conducted, by the federal or provincial government. The new regulations also limit the length of time for reviews and restrict who can speak at them. 

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Photo: The Vancouver Sun