April 15, 2004
FREDERICTON (CNB) - Improvements to New Brunswick's Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) process will allow for streamlining and make it more transparent, Environment and Local Government Minister Brenda Fowlie announced today.
"Over the years, we have heard comments from the public and industry that some improvement to the process would be beneficial," Fowlie said. "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."
Environment and Local Government Minister Brenda Fowlie.
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The objective of the EIA Regulation is to identify potential environmental and socio-economic effects of development proposals and determine whether the project can avoid, minimize or mitigate adverse impacts.
The revisions are the first and most significant since the EIA Regulation was introduced in 1987 and will result in greater public awareness of projects under review. This will include:
1 Public notification on a regular basis of projects that have been registered.
2 Development of a website that will update the public on the status of projects.
3 Revised public awareness and educational materials.
4 Requirement of proponents to inform the public and seek input early in the process for every project registered under the EIA Regulation.
The changes are the result of an ongoing review by staff that was initiated by the minister last year to determine if the EIA process could be enhanced.
"While I am confident the EIA process is fundamentally sound, there were some improvements identified during our review that would make it even more effective and efficient," the minister said. "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 improvements to the EIA process will be fully implemented by this fall.
MEDIA CONTACT: Jason Humphrey, communications, Environment and Local Government, 506-453-3700.