Gravel Watch Ontario (GWO)…

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Gravel Watch Ontario

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Gravel Watch Ontario (GWO) Concerns:
• lack of definition regarding what constitutes ‘minor’ amendments
• Ontario government’s EA processes are ineffective to address:
o the current global context regarding climate change
o cumulative effects stemming from increasing pressures for industrial development
• amendments are regressive by rolling back the following:
o exempting forestry operations from EAs,
o reducing the requirement for all public projects to undergo a comprehensive EA,
o identifying a small number of projects for the revised Comprehensive List, and
o changing the classes of undertakings to which class environmental assessments apply.
• continued de-evolution of Ontario’s environmental laws coupled with lack of public oversight jeopardizes the sustainability of Ontario’s resources and is contrary to the public interest as stated in the Environmental Assessment Act, i.e.
“the betterment of people of the whole or any part of Ontario
by providing for the protection, conservation and wise management
in Ontario of the environment.”

GWO Recommendations:
• update the current EAA to reflect sustainable development principles
• cancel the amendments to the EAA and focus on higher level reforms of the EA process rather than roll back existing EA requirements
• fix the gaps in the current EA process regarding climate change and the cumulative effects of projects in the same geographic area
• provide intervenor funding to facilitate public participation
• establish climate change criteria related to gas emissions and the implications of carbon storage to determine whether particular undertakings should undergo an EA
• develop performance indicators and collect baseline data for systematic review and monitoring of climate changes
• require mandatory and thorough regional and cumulative effects assessments
• enhance investigation, enforcement and penalty provisions under the EAA