Natural Resource Projects will Require More than $500-Billion from Government

This letter from our President, Denise Carpenter, appeared in The Hill Times today in response to this article in the Hill Times Resources Policy Briefing on December 5. Canada’s energy and natural resources infrastructure need government investment and streamlined regulatory frameworks and would benefit greatly from enhanced collaboration between government and industry.

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The Canadian Nuclear Association was among the industry associations that appeared before the House of Commons Environment Committee recently to advocate for changes to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (CEAA) (“NRCan anticipates $500 billion in new investments in natural resources projects,” December 5).

In fact, we made a number of suggestions that the nuclear industry believes would make environmental assessments:

  • More efficient – by conducting EAs according to the principle of “one project, one assessment, by the best-placed regulator”;
  • More effective – by strengthening the precedent value of EAs;
  • Proportionate to the environmental risk – avoiding reassessment of risks that have already been addressed;
  • More aligned with permitting and authorization decisions; and
  • More timely.

As vital as improving the regulatory framework may be, an anticipated $500 billion in natural resource projects will require much more than this from Canadian governments.

Your article rightly quoted the petroleum industry on the need for pipeline expansion.  But realizing all of these energy and natural resource developments will depend on a range of goods and services that will not be adequately supplied by business alone, and are fertile ground for public-private collaboration:

  • Education and human resource development:  public schooling and an academic sector that build the skills employers need.
  • Science and technology infrastructure:  laboratory facilities, equipment, instrumentation and expertise that can be invested in, and accessed, by business, government and universities.
  • Transport infrastructure:  the capacity to move supplies, energy, people and products efficiently within Canada and across our borders.

Senators Angus and Mitchell made related points in the same issue (“Energy, Environment:  We Need a National Discussion”).  Government can enable hundreds of billions in development, not just by regulating well, but also by working together with industry to build the human, technological and transport infrastructure required.

Sincerely,

Denise Carpenter
President
Canadian Nuclear Association

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