More science for environmental assessments: researchers
Recommendations include assessments by parties with arms-length relationship from proponents.
OTTAWA — A group of young scientific researchers has drafted an open letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau expressing concern that current environmental assessments and regulatory reviews lack “scientific rigour.”
The group, which purports to represent more than 1,000 researchers in Canada, makes a number of recommendations that it says will help rebuild public trust in the assessment processes.
The recommendations include having projects assessed by parties who have an arms length relationship from proponents.
Another recommendation is that decision-making criteria be developed so decisions are based on science and fact.
The researchers also suggest that all information from the assessments should be made publicly available and that there be public disclosure of all meetings among interested parties and members of the decision making process.
They say they decided to draft the letter partly because they must live with the future effects of major projects that get approval.
“We are concerned that current environmental assessments and regulatory decision-making processes lack scientific rigour, with significant consequences for the health and environment of all Canadians,” the letter reads.
The letter is addressed to Trudeau and several members of his cabinet.
The co-authors include researchers at the University of Victoria, Simon Fraser University, Western University, the University of Northern British Columbia and Dalhousie University.
The government set up a panel earlier this month to make recommendations on the role of the National Energy Board, which found itself in hot water over its review of the proposed Energy East pipeline project.
The NEB hearings on the project to ship Alberta oil to Saint John, N.B. was put on hold this fall after three of the panellists reviewing the project stepped down over an appearance of conflict of interest.
The project has faced stiff opposition from environmentalists and some First Nations leaders.News from © Canadian Press Enterprises Inc. 2016