Media Release: March 5, 2015
Bill 12 could exempt LNG plants from species at risk act; allow destruction of key documents
For Immediate Release
Victoria B.C. – Bill 12 could exempt LNG plants from scrutiny under the species at risk act and allow for the destruction of important documents according to Andrew Weaver, MLA for Oak Bay-Gordon Head and Deputy Leader of the B.C. Green Party.
“Right now, the provincial government is quietly pushing through legislation that could seriously undermine public oversight and environmental regulation of LNG ports,” says Andrew Weaver.
Bill C-43 gave the federal government the power to sell port land to port authorities. Once sold, that land no longer qualifies as ‘federal’ land and therefore no longer triggers a review under federal environmental regulations, including the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act 2012 and the terrestrial species protections under the Species at Risk Act. Bill C-43 also empowers the new body overseeing the port to destroy important documents or keep them confidential.
Under Bill 12 the province could take authority for these former port lands to administer projects like LNG terminals. The province would be authorized to empower LNG plants to destroy important documents or keep them confidential, as they see fit. The B.C. Liberal’s coveted LNG industry could also take advantage of essential regulatory loopholes, by not having to undergo federal environmental assessments or meeting basic standards such as terrestrial species protections under the Species at Risk Act. B.C. currently has no comparable legislation covering endangered species.
“My concern is that this shows a possible willingness to land an LNG industry at the expense of British Columbians’ interests,” says Weaver. “Why would LNG terminals need the potential power to destroy documents or keep them confidential?”
Dr. Weaver will table and support several amendments to Bill 12 this afternoon when it is debated in committee stage. The purpose of the amendments is to protect public oversight of the LNG industry and to close the regulatory loopholes created by Bill C-43.
“Bill 12 opens us up to massive loopholes from federal conservative legislation. We should be amending this bill to close those loopholes and protect the interests of British Columbians.”
Mat Wright – Press Secretary Andrew Weaver MLA
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