VICTORIA, B.C. – Sonia Furstenau, B.C. Green Caucus spokesperson for the environment, welcomed the introduction of government legislation to revitalize B.C.’s environmental assessment (EA) process. A commitment to revitalize the EA was a shared election platform commitment of the B.C. Green party and B.C. NDP, and was recommitted to in the Confidence and Supply Agreement between the two parties.
“Revitalizing the Environmental Assessment process is necessary to ensure B.C. is using current, evidence-based practices in all decision-making,” said Furstenau.
“B.C.’s natural resources should benefit British Columbians and their communities. In addition to addressing failures in the professional reliance model, we knew revitalizing the Environmental Assessment process was vital to restoring public trust that resource development is being done with their best interests at heart.”
The B.C. Green Caucus was consulted throughout the development of the new EA process, but is still reviewing the legislation in detail. Furstenau highlighted a climate test, First Nations rights and reconciliation, public involvement, and regional assessments as key priorities for the Caucus’ review.
“On first glance this legislation greatly strengthens the climate test on projects, ensuring that BC’s legislated GHG emission targets are a specific component that must be addressed in an application. We are very pleased to see this included in the legislation.
“Changing the EA process to ensure the legal rights of First Nations are respected and protected is foundational to advancing reconciliation. I look forward to consulting with First Nations leadership to ensure that goal has been met.
“Finally, too many ecosystems and wildlife populations in B.C. are being systematically managed to the brink of collapse. Clearly, government needs a better way to evaluate the cumulative impacts of multiple projects or developments. It is not good enough for each actor to mitigate their impact. To avoid death by a thousand cuts we need to be able to look at the whole picture and make decisions accordingly. With that in mind we are keenly interested in the regional assessment potential in this legislation.”
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