If you feel exhausted by Canada’s fevered debates about oil pipelines, liquefied natural gas terminals, renewable energy projects and mines, there just might be relief in sight.
Right now, the federal government is reviewing its environmental assessment (EA) process. Yes, it’s reviewing its reviews. And while that might sound kinda boring, it could actually revolutionize the way Canada makes decisions about energy projects.
“My highest hope is that Canada will take advantage of this once in a lifetime opportunity … and take a really visionary approach to environmental assessment,” said Anna Johnston, staff counsel at West Coast Environmental Law.
That could include implementing something called “strategic environmental assessment,” which creates a forum for the larger discussions about things like oil exports, LNG development or all mining in an area.
So instead of the current environmental assessment process, in which pipeline reviews have become proxy battles for issues such as climate change and cumulative effects, there’d actually be a higher-level review designed specifically to examine those big-picture questions.