The Mining Association of British Columbia

The Mining Association of British Columbia

March 03, 2010 16:52 ET

MABC Hails Throne Speech Commitment to Regulatory Reform

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - March 3, 2010) - The Mining Association of British Columbia (MABC) hailed today's commitment to regulatory reform for project approval in today's throne speech.

Today, Canada's Governor General, Michaelle Jean committed "to support responsible development of Canada's energy and mineral resources, our Government will untangle the daunting maze of regulations that needlessly complicates project approvals, replacing it with simpler, clearer processes that offer improved environmental protection and greater certainty to industry."

"Today's commitment to regulatory reform is a welcome signal to industry that Canada is open to investment," stated Pierre Gratton, President and CEO of the MABC. "Billions of dollars in resource projects already approved by British Columbia are being held up by an inefficient, uncoordinated federal process that even Canada's Commissioner for Environment and Sustainability states is unable to demonstrate value to the environment or society."

With half of all resource projects currently in the federal environmental assessment process located in British Columbia, this commitment is critical to a speedy economic recovery for our province and its long-term economic well-being. It will be important for the federal government to follow through with this commitment by immediately introducing legislation that recognizes the equivalency of the provincial environmental assessment process on a case-by-case basis. 

Establishing equivalency with provinces that already have environmental assessment legislation that meets or exceeds current federal standards would allow provincial governments to conduct environmental assessments on behalf of the federal government. "By amending the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act to recognize comparable provincial processes the federal government would establish a much needed one project/one assessment approach to project review freeing up federal resources that the government cannot afford to waste," concluded Mr. Gratton. 

Currently over $3 billion in resource projects have been approved by the BC environmental assessment process but sit waiting for Ottawa to complete the federal process. This holdup delays the creation of thousands of jobs that are badly needed in rural communities such as Williams Lake, Fort St. James and Mackenzie.

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