Canada’s Minister for the Environment, David Anderson, wants to improve the environmental impact assessment (EIA) process for projects constructed on major water courses, and which can impact the surrounding environment. He aims to clarify the current system to make it more efficient.

The biggest complaint from those trying to develop dams is that the current EIA process can tie up the licensing of major projects for years. The main reasons for this are said to be litigation and the intervention of stakeholders during various stages of the project.

Anderson has said that some assessments – such as the decision on dams like Rafferty-Alameda in Saskatchewan and Alberta – have taken far too long. Environmentalists have generally supported the move. They claim that the many delays under the current legislation are due to federal and provincial govern- ment confusion about their respon- sibilities.