April 26, 2004

New Brunswick updates EIA process regulation

FREDERICTON, NB-New Brunswick Environment and Local Government Minister Brenda Fowlie announced improvements to the province's environmental impact assessment (EIA) process which she said will allow for streamlining and make the overall process more transparent. Revisions to the EIA regulation are the first and most significant since the regulation was introduced in 1987 and will include: regular public notification of projects which have been registered; a requirement that proponents inform the public and seek input early in the process for every project registered under the EIA regulation; development of a Web site which will update the public on the status of projects; and revised public awareness and educational materials. The changes are the result of a continuing review by department staff, initiated by the Minister in 2003 to determine if the EIA process could be enhanced. "With 15 years of experience in environmental assessment, the time had come to apply the lessons learned and make some positive changes to the EIA process," Fowlie said. The objective of the EIA regulation is to seek out potential environmental and socio-economic effects of development proposals and determine whether the project can avoid, minimize or mitigate adverse impacts. The improvements to the process will be fully implemented by this fall. "This is considered a significant step forward in bettering the EIA process, and as the ongoing review continues we recognize that there might be more changes in the future," the Minister added.
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