A new environmental assessment regime

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The Federal government announced in its budget this week that it will soon be proposing a law to simplify environmental assessments for energy projects. The Northern Gateway pipeline is front of mind here. It’s no secret that there have been plenty of complaints from both Ottawa and business that EAs are too time-consuming and complex, much of it because of duplication. According to press reports, it looks like the government might pave the way for it to have the option to drop its own environmental assessment process if one is already under way in a province.  Under a new regime, we can also expect to see delays shortened and greater emphasis on bigger projects instead of smaller ones.