OTTAWA — Environment advocates say Canadian senators are bowing to pressure from the energy industry to gut the government’s environmental-assessment legislation.
More than 130 amendments are on the table at a Senate committee that could dramatically alter much of the bill, including moves to reduce cabinet discretion to intervene and making it harder for anyone to challenge a project approval — or denial — in court.
Ecojustice lawyer Joshua Ginsberg says Bill C-69 seeks a delicate balance between the need for Canada to build major new energy and transportation projects without harming the environment or contributing further to climate change.
He says the changes suggested are either pasted in directly from proposals from energy lobbyists or rewritten versions of those same suggestions.
The energy industry and many provincial governments oppose the legislation as written, arguing it will drive away investment and prevent new oil and gas pipelines from being built.
Any changes have to be accepted first by the committee, then the Senate as a whole and finally the government.