How do we know if environmental impact assessment is effective?

Project Overview

Environmental impact assessment (EIA) has a relatively long history as an environmental management tool. It is well established, widely practised and arguably well regarded. But its effectiveness is debated.  In Canada recent changes to federal legislation and some provincial systems may compromise the capacity of EIA to help environmental management, mitigate risks and impacts, maximize benefits, and improve and support development.

Effectiveness is a long-standing issue in EIA research—the theme is fundamental to the development of EIA and essential to understanding its contributions to environmental management. However, systematic evaluations of the actual impacts and influence of EIA on environmental quality and policy are rare, and the Canadian context is no exception.

A working definition of effectiveness…

The most overarching definition of the effectiveness of environmental assessment is the extent to which it identifies, assesses, and finds ways to mitigate or eliminate the potential negative impacts of development, and importantly how well environmental assessment helps or improves environmental management and ultimately the state of the environment.

Our research aims to go beyond process studies. We are working to develop criteria that can be used to better understand the impact of EIA on environmental management and decision-making, and provide research that examines the nuanced factors that help shape its effectiveness. 

We aim to provide applied and practical information that can help in the development and improvement of EIA and the advancement of best practices in the private and public sectors.

Our Universities

The University of British Columbia

The University of Saskatchewan

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News 2016


January
New rules for Reviews
Canada's new Liberal government has announced new rules for two major pipeline reviews. But Alberta’s new climate plan should also help crude oil pipelines from obtain regulatory approvals under new federal rules for greenhouse gas emissions, says Alberta’s environment and parks minister. “Alberta’s ability to access energy markets is crucial, not only for our province’s energy industry, but for the economic future of Canada. We have made very little progress in that direction under the former federal government’s rules,” Alberta's Environment Minister told a news conference.

The federal government announced that it will be delaying its decision on Kinder Morgan’s proposed Trans Mountain expansion project to December 2016 from August 2016 and will be extending the total period for the National Energy Board (NEB) review and subsequent government decision of TransCanada’s Energy East pipeline to 27 months from the currently mandated 18 months.

The National Energy Board
Canada's beleaguered National Energy Board (NEB) has suffered another blow to its reputation. A report by the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development holds that
The NEB is not doing enough to track whether pipeline companies are complying with conditions set out when projects are approved, according to the new report.

The report, tabled in the House of Commons on Tuesday, warns that the national regulator needs to do more to keep track of pipeline projects, especially given the increased number of projects it is required to handle.

Alberta’s new climate plan should help crude oil pipelines from Alberta to tidewater obtain regulatory approvals under new federal rules for greenhouse gas emissions announced Thursday, says Alberta’s environment and parks minister. “Alberta’s ability to access energy markets is crucial, not only for our province’s energy industry, but for the economic future of Canada. We have made very little progress in that direction under the former federal government’s rules,” Shannon Phillips told a news conference.

The federal government announced that it will be delaying its decision on Kinder Morgan’s proposed Trans Mountain expansion project to December 2016 from August 2016 and will be extending the total period for the National Energy Board (NEB) review and subsequent government decision of TransCanada’s Energy East pipeline to 27 months from the currently mandated 18 months.

- See more at: http://www.oilweek.com/index.php/731-pipeline-approvals-could-be-assisted-by-new-alberta-climate-policy#sthash.JrAIsGfc.dpuf

Alberta’s new climate plan should help crude oil pipelines from Alberta to tidewater obtain regulatory approvals under new federal rules for greenhouse gas emissions announced Thursday, says Alberta’s environment and parks minister. “Alberta’s ability to access energy markets is crucial, not only for our province’s energy industry, but for the economic future of Canada. We have made very little progress in that direction under the former federal government’s rules,” Shannon Phillips told a news conference.

The federal government announced that it will be delaying its decision on Kinder Morgan’s proposed Trans Mountain expansion project to December 2016 from August 2016 and will be extending the total period for the National Energy Board (NEB) review and subsequent government decision of TransCanada’s Energy East pipeline to 27 months from the currently mandated 18 months.

- See more at: http://www.oilweek.com/index.php/731-pipeline-approvals-could-be-assisted-by-new-alberta-climate-policy#sthash.JrAIsGfc.dpuf

Alberta’s new climate plan should help crude oil pipelines from Alberta to tidewater obtain regulatory approvals under new federal rules for greenhouse gas emissions announced Thursday, says Alberta’s environment and parks minister. “Alberta’s ability to access energy markets is crucial, not only for our province’s energy industry, but for the economic future of Canada. We have made very little progress in that direction under the former federal government’s rules,” Shannon Phillips told a news conference.

The federal government announced that it will be delaying its decision on Kinder Morgan’s proposed Trans Mountain expansion project to December 2016 from August 2016 and will be extending the total period for the National Energy Board (NEB) review and subsequent government decision of TransCanada’s Energy East pipeline to 27 months from the currently mandated 18 months.

- See more at: http://www.oilweek.com/index.php/731-pipeline-approvals-could-be-assisted-by-new-alberta-climate-policy#sthash.JrAIsGfc.dpuf

Alberta’s new climate plan should help crude oil pipelines from Alberta to tidewater obtain regulatory approvals under new federal rules for greenhouse gas emissions announced Thursday, says Alberta’s environment and parks minister. “Alberta’s ability to access energy markets is crucial, not only for our province’s energy industry, but for the economic future of Canada. We have made very little progress in that direction under the former federal government’s rules,” Shannon Phillips told a news conference.

The federal government announced that it will be delaying its decision on Kinder Morgan’s proposed Trans Mountain expansion project to December 2016 from August 2016 and will be extending the total period for the National Energy Board (NEB) review and subsequent government decision of TransCanada’s Energy East pipeline to 27 months from the currently mandated 18 months.

- See more at: http://www.oilweek.com/index.php/731-pipeline-approvals-could-be-assisted-by-new-alberta-climate-policy#sthash.JrAIsGfc.dpuf
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