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News Brief
June 5, 2013

More changes to federal environmental assessment laws on the horizon


The federal government has recently proposed amendments to the Regulations Designating Physical Activities (RDPA). 


These amendments will result in the addition of some projects to the RDPA. Unfortunately, the list of projects being removed from the RDPA is much larger.


It is disappointing that oil and gas seismic activities in marine areas, oilsands steam assisted gravity drainage (SAGD) projects and projects within national parks, among others, are not included in the draft regulations.


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Upcoming events
Do you like Green Regs and Ham? Do you like them Sam-I-Am?

We are thrilled to announce that we will host CEO Mr. Jim Ellis and Chairman Mr. Gerry Protti of the Alberta Energy Regulator at a breakfast series called Green Regs & Ham. These events will take place in Edmonton on June 14 and Calgary on June 17 and have proven to be of interest to a number of stakeholders in our community. We are engaging our donors and supporters, members of the environmental community, policy-makers and industry representatives in a balanced and honest conversation about how environmental decision-making will occur under the new Alberta Energy Regulator.
If you missed your personal invite, or wish to be notified of future events, please send an email to Leah at lorr@elc.ab.ca
We hope to offer similar events in communities throughout south and central Alberta in the fall and in early 2014. 
We gratefully acknowledge Devon Energy for its support of our Calgary Green Regs & Ham breakfast.
Upcoming webinar
What would a good environmental assessment law look like?

Federal omnibus budget bills passed in 2012 brought dramatic changes to environmental regulation, particularly in the area of environmental assessments. Many of us are wondering what this means for environmental protection in Canada. This remains to be seen, and leaves us with another question: What would a good environmental assessment law - a law that incorporates environmentally sound principles - look like?


On Monday June 24th, from noon to 1:00 PM, join Brenda Heelan Powell, Staff Counsel, as she reviews recent changes to federal environmental assessment law and discusses her recent publication, A Model Environmental and Sustainability Assessment Law, which strives to answer that question. 

Water brokerage puts water conservation at risk.

An appeal by Alberta Wilderness AssociationWater Matters and Trout Unlimited ended when the Alberta Court of Queen's Bench found that the Environmental Appeals Board (EAB) cannot grant "public interest standing" under the provincial Water Act. The groups sought to challenge a change to the purpose of water licenses that will allow Irrigation Districts to sell water for other uses.


The brief decision in  Alberta Wilderness Association v Alberta (Environmental Appeal Board) is far from the policy-driven approach to standing emerging from the Supreme Court of Canada.


A case that could have been a missing link in public interest jurisprudence does little to enrich the law. If the EAB had power to grant standing then it might have been unreasonable not to. 


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Other News from the Environmental Law Centre:

It's May "two-four": begin the bush parties, litter, trucks in the river...the real FubarThere will be liquor bans, fire bans, trail closures, bear warnings and check stops. Responsible recreationalists will understand and plan ahead. They should also support enforcement.  Read more.

Wondering what we got up to in 2012? Read all about it in our 2012 Annual Report. Read it here. 



What are your plans? Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development has posted a handy list of activities and events around the province.
Here at the Environmental Law Centre we're working hard today and every day to help build an Alberta where the environment is a priority. You can help us by making a generous donation today. Support the ELC.

As always, we love to hear from you, our readers, and hope you'll email your questions, comments and suggestions for content to Leah at lorr@elc.ab.ca

Hope you enjoy and have a great Environment Week!

Leah Orr
Communications Coordinator


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