VANCOUVER - 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 first two projects to face reviews under the agreement are proposed coal mines near Hudson's Hope and Chetwynd in northeast B.C.