Environmental assessment rule changes will benefit Yukon

Environmental assessment rule changes will benefit Yukon The recently proposed amendments to the Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Act, now before Parliament, will be of great benefit for everyone in Yukon. The negative responses gracin

The recently proposed amendments to the Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Act, now before Parliament, will be of great benefit for everyone in Yukon.

The negative responses gracing the pages of the media regarding the proposed YESAA changes are full of misinformation and political grandstanding. The proposed changes do not, in any way, advocate for diminished environmental protections.

Initially YESAA was working quite well due to the will to succeed and efficiency of the YESAA employees and Yukon government. However, recently it has turned into a time consuming, bureaucratic nightmare. The end result is a regulatory process which has become a strong deterrent to investment.

Unfortunately, the only way to get YESAA back on track is to mandate efficiency through legislative changes.

There is a proposed change to create a fixed beginning-to-end timeline, not to exceed nine months at a district office, 16 months at executive committee level and 18 months for a panel decision.

Keep in mind that these proposed timelines are for hard rock operations, as placer operations should only take a few months to make it through YESAA.

I remember attending a YESAA presentation about 10 years ago with the president of the Mining Association of Canada in which YESAA officials in attendance predicted a two-year timeline for the largest of projects. With this in mind, the president of MAC said he would recommend to his members to invest in the Yukon.

Unfortunately, without the proposed changes to improve YESAA timelines, it will continue to take much longer to permit here, and thus investment will go elsewhere.

Presently, getting YESAA approval plus quartz and water licences can take as many as five years.

The second recommended change relates to the need for re-assessments on non-significant modifications to a project. For example, a mine has already gone through the environmental assessment process and everything remains the same except they want to mine a different vein, a few metres over from original activities applied for. Currently, a proponent would have to go through the YESAA process all over again. This proposed amendment would allow YESAA officials the discretion to waive this requirement for a full blown assessment, when the original activities remain the same.

And finally, the delegation of federal authority to Yukon is also a good thing. Home grown decision making is what devolution was all about.

The Canadian Environmental Assessment Act went through a revamping in 2012 that left YESAA behind. When YESAA is touted as the leading edge of all environmental assessments in Canada, it stands to benefit from improvements and changes to its efficiency that bring it in line with CEAA. Once we can make the Yukon a competitive regulatory regime that is welcoming to investment, we all stand to benefit as Yukoners and Canadians.

Remember that during the Great Depression of the 1930’s, Yukoners, with our gold resource economy, did not suffer along with the rest of the world.

Gary Lee


Just Posted

Car crashes through Whitehorse school fence

2 people taken to hospital, no kids hurt

Tagish dog rescue owner asks for court order to get rid of dogs to be put on hold

Shelley Cuthbert argued forcing her to get rid of all but two dogs would cause ‘irreparable harm’

No vacancy: Whitehorse family spends five months seeking housing

‘I didn’t think it would be this hard’

Bedbug situation in Whitehorse building becoming intolerable, resident says

Gabriel Smarch said he’s been dealing with bedbugs since he moved into his apartment 15 years ago

Yukon government transfers responsibility for Native Language Centre to CYFN

‘At the end of the day the importance is that First Nations have control of the language’

The week in Yukon mining

Goldcorp re-submits Coffee plans, Mount Nansen sale looms, Kudz Ze Kayah comments open

Ice, ice, baby: scaling a frozen Yukon waterfall

‘There’s a really transformative affect with adventure’

Says Marwell is problematic, requests council further hash it out

You can buy alcohol and tobacco on Main Street in Whitehorse —… Continue reading

Yukon history is picture post card perfect

The most interesting gift I received at Christmas this year was the… Continue reading

Contentious Whitehorse quarry proposal raises city hackles

‘We’ve had concerns from the get-go on this one’

Whitehorse time machine

Yukon’s capital added 10,000 people over the last three decades, no YESAB application needed

How to make sure your car starts in the cold

It’s about more than just making sure your plug works

Whitehorse fuel delivery company fined $1,100 for Rancheria crash

The Crown stayed two other charges against the company related to the Aug. 7, 2017, crash

Most Read