Canada, Alberta prepare to renew EA co-operation accordA revised agreement between the federal and Alberta governments on environmental assessment co-operation has been released for public comment for a 30-day public consultation period running from September 1 to September 30, 2004. Intended to replace a 1999 agreement which expired on June 24, 2004, the proposed agreement will build on the success of the previous document, while at the same time reflecting recent changes to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act.
The revised Canada-Alberta Agreement on Environmental Assessment Co-operation proposes to continue the practice of fulfilling the information requirements of both levels of government through a single environmental assessment (EA) for a project. It will also promote a more effective and consistent process in which each level of government can fulfill its EA responsibilities in a timely manner, while contributing to environmental protection.
The bilateral agreement establishes administrative mechanisms and guides federal-provincial co-operation for EAs of projects subject to both the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act and the Alberta Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act (EPEA). Projects that are subject to both the federal and provincial EA legislation typically include major industrial and resource development projects which require the preparation of an environmental impact assessment report under the EPEA and also require federal environmental approvals, permits, or licenses or involve federal funding or land.
Specifically, the new Canada-Alberta agreement will:
*form the basis for continued effective and efficient co-operation where federal and provincial EA legislation applies to the same project;
*preserve each government's authority and legislative requirements;
*provide for effective consultation between parties to determine their EA responsibilities;
*provide guidelines to determine a "lead party" responsible for the administration of each co-operative EA;
*set out principles for carrying out a co-operative EA and describe the parties' respective roles and responsibilities;
*provide for the development of work plans to make the EA process more timely and efficient;
*describe procedures for the establishment of joint review panels in the context of a co-operative EA;
*establish a single contact in each jurisdiction to co-ordinate consultation, resolve process and content issues, and ensure that parties meet established timelines;
*allow each party to use information generated by a joint assessment to make their own decisions about the process and to co-ordinate the timing of the announcement related to the proposed project; and
*provide for a continuing review of the agreement's effectiveness, including a thorough evaluation within seven years.
The agreement will not apply to EA processes established through land claim, treaty or Aboriginal self-government agreements.
Following a review and consideration of the comments received, federal Environment Minister StÈphane Dion and Alberta Environment Minister DrLorne Taylor will finalize the 2004 Canada-Alberta Agreement for Environmental Assessment Co-operation.
Copies of the draft agreement and other related information can be viewed on the Web sites of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency, www.ceaa-acee.gc.ca, and Alberta Environment, www.gov.ab.ca/env.
Comments in English or French should be directed to either of the following: Lanny Coulson, Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency, Alberta/NWT Regional Office, 10237 - 104 St, Suite 100, Edmonton T5L 1B1, 780/422-7704, FAX 780/422-6202, E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org; or Laury North, Alberta Environment, 9820 - 106 St, 8th Floor, Edmonton T5K 2J6, 780/427-8319, FAX 780) 422-0262, E-mail email@example.com.