“Greenish” Federal Budget

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The recent Federal budget has made some room for environmental initiatives. These vary from green infrastructure to regulatory changes. In total there are 51 mentions of “environment” and 23 mentions of “environmental” in the recent budget; not exactly overwhelming. Overall, it seems like a missed opportunity. In this time of uncertainty, the Federal government could have used their freedom to spend on initiatives such as clean tech, energy efficiency, government transparency, simpler regulations and other items which would create jobs and stimulate a 21st century economy. Instead, they seemed focused putting in enough token gestures to have it passed. 

Not too much else to convey, except our disappointment on the vision of this budget. While our neighbours down south are planning ambitious projects such as doubling renewable energy production, higher auto fuel efficiency standards and a return to the greenhouse gas negotiating table – us progressive canadians are taking baby steps. Below, I have pulled the main environmental items from the budget. 

Full budget

CBC Summary of Environmental Items

Environmental excerts from the budget:

Reporting

Improving the Government’s annual reporting on key environmental indicators such as clean air, clean water and
greenhouse gas emissions with $10 million in 2009–10.

Green Infrastructure Fund

Targeted investments in green infrastructure can improve the quality of the environment and will lead to a more sustainable economy over the longer term. Green infrastructure includes infrastructure that supports a focus on the creation of sustainable energy. Sustainable energy infrastructure, such as modern energy transmission lines, will contribute to improved air quality and lower carbon emissions.

Budget 2009 provides $1 billion over five years for a Green Infrastructure Fund. Funding will be allocated based on merit to support green infrastructure projects on a cost-shared basis. Canada’s Economic Action Plan Immediate Action to Build Infrastructure .

Regulatory

In addition, the Government will implement administrative changes to streamline application of the Fisheries Act, and regulator y ef ficiencies will be pursued for projects subject to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act. For example, for projects requiring a federal environmental assessment decision, regulations could allow one environmental assessment process to meet federal and provincial requirements, by agreement with the provinces and territories.

60 new small craft and 30 new environmental response barges that will suppor t Canadian Coast Guard operational requirements across the country. 

Currently, infrastructure approval processes are subject to duplication and inefficiencies in administration, leading to unnecessary project delays. The Government will be introducing changes to the federal regulator y framework throughlegislative, regulator y and administrative actions to drive ef ficiencies in assessing environmental and other impacts of infrastructure projects without compromising protection of the environment. 

Clean Energy Fund

A new Clean Energy Fund that suppor ts clean energy research development and demonstration projects, including carbon capture and storage. 

McKenzie Gas Project

 

Providing $37.6 million in suppor t of environmental assessments, regulator y coordination, science, and Aboriginal consultations related to the Mackenzie Gas Project.

Lastly, I love how Changing to a Green Energy Economy is a one line in the budget! If it were actually done, it would be one of the largest engineering projects ever done by Canada.