The Government of Canada has released the draft list of projects to be included under the proposed Bill C-69, the Impact Assessment Act. Bill C-69 is a proposed overhaul of how major infrastructure projects are reviewed.
The list includes in situ oil sands projects with production over 2,000 cubic metres per day (about 12,500 barrels per day), and expansions of in situ facilities resulting in an increased production capacity of 50 per cent or more – unless the Alberta government maintains a legislated hard cap on greenhouse gas emissions.
Offshore exploratory wells are also included, except in an area for which a regional assessment has been carried out and the project falls within the specific conditions for exemption. The list includes any new international or interprovincial oil or natural gas pipeline, other than an offshore pipeline, with a length of 75 km or more of new right of way.
Industry believes it is inappropriate to include in situ oil sands projects and offshore exploration drilling in the list of projects to fall under Bill C-69. Moving projects from the jurisdiction of regulators with a depth of experience (i.e., provincial regulators), to a regulator who does not have this level of expertise (i.e., federal regulator), damages the Canadian regulatory system and delegitimizes the government’s rationale for this Bill in the first place, which is to streamline the project approval process
“Shifting project approvals into the federal realm would slow new developments, leading to less investment and fewer jobs. Producers and explorers need certainty and defined timelines,” said Tim McMillan, President and CEO. “Governments should be working collaboratively and in good faith in the best interest of Canadians.”