The Annual General Meeting of the Council of Canadians-Hamilton Chapter features a presentation by Theresa McClenaghan, Executive Director and Legal Counsel for the Canadian Environmental Law Association.
The Council of Canadians has asked Ms. McClenaghan to present a non-partisan legal view of the impacts of the proposed changes to Environmental laws and regulations as proposed in Bill C-38, the omnibus budget bill now before the House of Commons.
The presentation will be followed by comment and analysis by Lynda Lukasik, Executive Director of Environment Hamilton, and Don McLean, Director of Environment Hamilton.
The Council of Canadians, along with many other social and environmental organizations, recently participated in the Black Out – Speak Out campaign. This campaign has described the impacts of the bill on our environment in the following way:
The Canadian Environmental Assessment Act is being replaced with a totally new law. Under new law, Ottawa will play a much smaller role in protecting people from harmful projects—while retaining the right to basically rubber-stamp big projects that powerful oil interests want.
The new weaker rules are being applied to review processes that are already underway–so projects like the Enbridge Northern Gateway tankers and pipeline project could get an easier ride.
The National Energy Board will no longer be able to say "no" to oil pipeline projects that are not in the public interest. Politicians in Cabinet will be able to overrule the expert energy regulator if powerful oil interests don't like its decision.
Permits that allow the destruction of habitat for fish and threatened or endangered species will now be issued behind closed doors without public scrutiny, if they are required at all.
The 2012 budget eliminates the funding for the last remaining government advisory body – the National Roundtable on the Environment and Economy (NRTEE). The NRTEE provides analysis and advice on how to meet our international commitments to reducing greenhouse gas pollution.
Many lakes, rivers and streams that provide habitat to fish will be at greater risk of destruction because of changes to the Fisheries Act contained within the budget implementation bill. Healthy fish habitat is important for fish and for the people and businesses that depend on them.
Posted by Ryan