Environmental reviews to be shared between B.C., feds

03/16/2013 06:07 EDT | Updated 05/16/2013 05:12 EDT
The B.C. and federal governments have signed a deal that will eliminate duplicate environmental assessments of major resource projects.

Under the agreement, the B.C. Environmental Assessment Office, with the help of some federal experts, will conduct a single review of specific projects, including ensuring the proper consultation with First Nations.

The results will be given to the federal and provincial environmental ministers to make separate decisions on the impacts of the projects.

B.C. Environment Minister Terry Lake says the agreement doesn't mean assessments will be any less rigorous, and they will still meet all federal and provincial requirements.

He says the guiding principle of the new process remains ensuring a strong environmental assessment and Aboriginal consultation.

The B.C. Environmental Assessment Office has already submitted two requests to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency to conduct substituted environmental assessments on behalf of the federal government.

The first two projects, proposed coal mines in northeast B.C., are the Carbon Creek coal mine, which is 40 km west of Hudson's Hope, and the Sukunka coal project, located 55 km south of Chetwynd.