VICTORIA, B.C. – Sonia Furstenau, B.C. Green Party spokesperson for the environment, says the province’s environmental assessment (EA) revitalization is an opportunity to ensure development is done in a way that is beneficial to communities. A commitment to revitalize the environmental assessment process is a component of the B.C. Greens’ Confidence and Supply Agreement (CASA) with the B.C. NDP.
“A strong, revitalized environmental assessment process that has the trust of the public will benefit both communities and businesses,” said Furstenau.
“In B.C., we have seen projects go ahead without adequate consultation and environmental assessments, only for communities to discover shortcomings when the damage to their local environment and resources is done. This damage can have very real consequences, such as compromising local drinking water sources and harming essential species like wild salmon. This erodes public trust, often leading to costly legal challenges and delays. Establishing trust at the outset provides greater certainty for business while allowing communities to spend their time and resources on other things that are important to them and their families.
“Revitalizing the EA process will help advance reconciliation with First Nations and strengthen our ability to meet our climate targets. The proposal of a readiness gate that requires consultation with First Nations at the outset will help enable us to implement the Truth and Reconciliation Commission calls-to-action and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Strengthening the process of assessing a project’s compatibility with our climate targets will give climate change the prioritization it deserves by recognizing that meeting our targets is an absolute economic, environmental and moral imperative.
“Our team is carefully reviewing these recommendations in detail. I look forward to working closely with the Minister to ensure B.C.’s environmental assessment process is duly revitalized so British Columbians can have faith that all development projects are in their best interests.”
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