FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE ~ DON’T GUT ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT AGENCY: NDP

OTTAWA – Canada’s Official Opposition is urging the Harper government to reverse its plan to decimate the environmental agency that evaluates the impact of proposed projects on the environment.

“Last year’s BP spill was a stark reminder that we need a robust environmental assessment process to avoid disaster,� said New Democrat Environment Critic Megan Leslie. “The government must ensure major projects have an environmental review before they go ahead.�

Planning documents from the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency show the organization is grappling with a 43 per cent budget cut—from $30-million this year to $17.1-million in 2012-13.

“During their Throne Speech just last month, I heard this government promise to improve environmental assessments,� said Laurin Liu, party’s Deputy Environment Critic. “Seeing them cynically break this promise reminds me why so many young people feel like Ottawa is broken—and why they sent New Democrats here to fix it.�

One program that fulfilled Ottawa’s legal obligation to consult with Aboriginal communities on proposed projects will disappear entirely.

“This is a clear abrogation of the federal government’s legal and constitutional duties,� added Linda Duncan, New Democrat Aboriginal Affairs Critic.

Slashing the CEAA is the latest in a series of Harper government moves that weaken the environmental assessment process, including allowing the Minister to exclude projects from federal environmental assessment. Conservatives even handed responsibility for assessing big energy projects to the industry-dominated National Energy Board.

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For more information, please contact:

Sally Housser, Caucus Press Secretary: 613-222-5997

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