Canada to trim environmental assessments for large projects

The Canadian government will disclose new guidelines this week to reduce the time it takes for environmental reviews of major energy and industrial projects, in a move that Reuters qualifies as an attempt to help the oil industry.

Appearing Tuesday at the House of Commons Natural Resources Committee, federal Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver confirmed the government aims to speed up test for industrial projects that he said are dragging on far too long β€” several years in some cases.

β€œIt's possible to make regulatory decisions in a reasonable amount of time without compromising the rigor or the standards of the process […] Our ultimate goal is simple but not necessarily easy to achieve: one project, one review, in a clearly defined time frame,” said Oliver, as quoted by Reuters.

As reported last week, Prime Minister Stephen Harper is particularly keen to speed up development of the Alberta oil sands, the third-largest proven crude oil reserve in the world, as the country tries to build oil-exporting capacity.