Saskatchewan’s environment minister says the province is exercising due diligence when it comes to approving projects that could impact the environment.
Concerns are being raised after it was recently revealed the federal government was cancelling more than 700 environmental assessments in the province.
Ken Cheveldayoff says he is in favour of streamling the process for business, so it doesn’t have to jump through hoops to get approval from both the federal and provincial governments.
But Cheveldayoff says business interests are not taking precedence over environmental protection.
He adds any project that would affect the environment will be subject to a thorough review:
“I know that we’re going to be undertaking a provincial review of all projects that need assessment. So, from my perspective, I’m confident in the Ministry of Environment provincially — that they will be undertaking that review.”
The Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations and the Saskatchewan Environmental Society have both blased the federal government for its decision to cancel environment assessments for more than 700 projects on federal land in the province.
In a statement, federal Environment Minister Peter Kent insists Canada’s environmental protection regime has not been weakened.
Kent says projects that are no longer undergoing environmental assessments are still subject to strong federal environmental protection laws and regulations including: the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, the Fisheries Act, the Migratory Birds Convention Act, and the Species at Risk Act.
He adds that many projects are also subject to provincial certificates of approval, permits for emissions of air and water and waste management, and local municipal permits.
As well, in instances where the projects are on federal land, Kent says the federal authority has an obligation under the new environmental assessment legislation to ensure there are no significant adverse environmental effects.