Harper ‘Budget’ Bill Guts Protection of Rivers, Lakes

Conservatives Toss Out 130 Year-Old Law to Speed Up Pipeline Construction: NDP

October 19, 2012

OTTAWA – Tucked inside the 450-page budget bill, the Conservatives are launching another attack on Canada’s environment with the gutting of a crucial waterways protection law. Exempting pipelines crossings from mandatory reviews, Harper is putting streams and lakes at an irresponsible risk, experts agree.

“The Conservatives are writing a blank check for the Northern Gateway pipeline to cross 800 streams and rivers without any review,” NDP Transport and Infrastructure Critic Olivia Chow charges. “It will just be a matter of time before a pipeline accident will wreck a river.”

The NDP is pointing to the 2010 Enbridge pipeline burst in Michigan that released 3.8 million litres of toxic tar sludge into the Kalamazoo River.

The Navigable Waters Protection Act, in place for 130 years, was already softened by the Conservatives in 2009, removing many of its strict regulations.

“Harper and his buddies are now completely demolishing a law that has served Canada’s rivers and lakes so well – and all this is done without any consultation or committee review, making a sham of our democracy,” MP Olivia Chow explains.

“Canada has hundreds of thousands of rivers and lakes that are vital for our ecosystems, drinking water and recreation – and now the Conservatives are throwing out vital protection mechanisms to please their big oil friends,” the MP for Trinity-Spadina concludes.

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