Thursday, January 10, 2013

Oil, gas industry gets Harper to deregulate


A letter obtained by Greenpeace through access to information laws and passed on to the CBC reveals the oil and gas industry was granted its request that the federal government change a series of environmental laws to advance "both economic growth and environmental performance."

Within 10 months of the request, the industry had almost everything it wanted.

The letter, dated Dec. 12, 2011, was addressed to Environment Minister Peter Kent and Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver. It came from a group called the Energy Framework Initiative (EFI), which is made up of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, the Canadian Energy Pipeline Association, the Canadian Petroleum Products Institute (now the Canadian Fuels Association) and the Canadian Gas Association.

"The purpose of our letter is to express our shared views on the near-term opportunities before the government to address regulatory reform for major energy industries in Canada," wrote the EFI.
The letter specifically mentions six laws that relate to the oil and gas industry's ability to do its work:
  • National Energy Board Act.
  • Canadian Environmental Assessment Act.
  • Fisheries Act.
  • Navigable Waters Protection Act.
  • Species at Risk Act.
  • Migratory Birds Convention Act.
On Jan. 9, 2012 (less than one month after the letter was written), Oliver wrote an open letter accusing environmentalists and other "radical groups" of undermining the Canadian economy.

On April 26, 2012, the government introduced the first of its omnibus budget implementation acts which completely re-wrote the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act and made major changes to the Fisheries Act and the National Energy Board Act.

On Oct. 18, 2012, the government tabled its second omnibus budget implementation act, which replaced the Navigable Waters Protection Act (one of the oldest pieces of Canadian legislation) with the Navigation Protection Act.

Continue reading here.

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