Since the announcement, the province has already applied to have two northeast B.C. projects be assessed under the EAO. The Sukunka Coal Project 55 kilometres south of Chetwynd and the Carbon Creek Metallurgical Coal Mine Project 55 kilometres south of Chetwynd are both currently subject to a federal environmental assessment. If the province's request is approved, the EAO will conduct "substituted" environmental assessments for them on behalf of the federal government.
Environment Minister Terry Lake maintains that the provincial environmental assessments will still be considered using the same factors as the CEAA, and federal expertise will be used.
"Substitution does not mean less rigorous assessment or consultation" he says. "In fact, a guiding principle of substitution is the protection of strong environmental assessment and Aboriginal consultation. Substitution allows the assessment process to be conducted more effectively and efficiently."
Based on the EAO's assessment, both provincial and federal ministers will come to their own decision about the projects' environmental effects and whether enough Aboriginal consultation was done.
Comments from the public on whether these two coal projects are appropriate to have a substituted assessment are now being collected. Written comments in that regard must be submitted by April 4, 2013 to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency:
410 – 701 West Georgia Street
Vancouver BC V7Y 1C6
For the Sukunka Coal Mine Project email Sukunka@ceaa-acee.gc.ca
For the Carbon Creek Metallurgical Coal Mine Project email CarbonCreek@ceaa-acee.gc.ca
For more information on each project, visit the Related Articles to the right of the page.