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Kenney Demands Energy Industry Support in Albertas Challenge of Federal Impact Assessment Law

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney has called on his provinces energy industry to intervene in the provincial governments court challenge of the federal Impact Assessment Act (IAA).

The IAA, or Bill C-69, which received royal assent in 2019 and which Kenney dubbed the forget about pipelines bill, allows the government to take into account the impacts of new resource projects and prohibit certain projects from being completed if that act is thought to cause environmental changes.

The act allows Ottawa to measure the environmental impacts of intra-provincial pipelines along with other energy development projects in a way that the government essentially has veto power.

Through the Alberta Industrial Heartland Association (AIHA) annual conference on Sept. 15, Kenney said the IAA presents a continuing obstacle to the power industry. He urged companies to file amicus curiae, or friend of the court briefings, to get the Alberta governments court challenges contrary to the IAA.

Amicus curiae are filings from parties beyond a pending lawsuit that argue or present information to get, or against, among the parties to the lawsuit out of its interests.

(The) federal approvals process creates uncertainty and unnecessary delays which is why we kept our commitment to sue the government on the constitutionality of the bill, Kenney said at the AIHA conference in Edmonton, the Vancouver Sun reported.

Trojan Horse

In 2019, Alberta launched a constitutional challenge contrary to the IAA, calling it a Trojan Horse that seeks to intrude into provincial jurisdiction. The task received support from Ontario and Saskatchewan, in addition to from the Woodland Cree First Nation, the Indian Resource Council, plus some coal and oil producers.

ON, MAY 10, the Alberta Court of Appeal ruled the IAA to be unconstitutional, saying that as the environment needs to be protected, it will not be considered a reason to override the Constitution and the federal system.

The IAA involves another existential threatone also pressing and consequentialand this is the clear and present danger this legislative scheme presents to the division of powers guaranteed by our Constitution and therefore, to Canada itself, a court decision said at that time.

The Alberta Court of Appeals ruling, however, isn’t binding on the government.

In the Alberta Law review, Andrew Leach writes that the combined consideration of cumulative environmental effects, greenhouse gas emissions, and the hyperlink between pipelines and oil sands growth could make it more challenging to approve a pipeline. The reason being, when coupled with recent changes to judicial review doctrine in Canada, the brand new regime can make it a lot more problematic for regulators and political decision-makers to justify such approvals.

In July 2022, Ottawa announced plans to place the Alberta governments non-binding ruling to the Supreme Court of Canada to produce a ultimate decision on the legality of the bill.

Andrew Chen


Andrew Chen can be an Epoch Times reporter located in Toronto.

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