LCC- EIA FINAL
Determining Significance of the Residual Effects

WHAT IS SIGNIFICANCE?

Masuring the level of impact of an adverse residual (mitigation already considered) environmental effects.

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Conclusion should be transparent, systematic, defendable.

Use Scientific data, Regulated thresholds/standards, Social Values, Cultural Knowledge,Professional Judgement

 

Assessing significance is a legal requirement unter CEAA

-subsection 16(1)b.. ” RA need to consider significance in their decision”

Significance is not defined in act

 

How do you know?

-are adverse effects mitigable?

-are residual effects insignificant? (acceptable)

-is additional analysis required before decision?

Steps for determining significance

1)Is the Environmental Effect Adverse?

-Compare environment with project to existing conditions

 

2)Is the Adverse environmental Effect Significant?

Criteria:

-magnitude

-location

-duration/frequency

 

How Significant?

Effects may be significant if they exceed standards or guidelines that:

-are established by different levels of government

-define max levels of substances in emissions or discharges

-max levels acceptable in environment

-define compliance with laws, codes

-ensure consistency with policies and plans for environmental protection, land use, resource management

 

IE…

-provincial water quality criteria

-sustainable development criteria (eg. parks canada, maintaining ecological integrity)

-regional land use plans

 

CHALLENGES

-what if standards do not exist

 

3)Is Significant Adverse Effect Likely?

Need to consider:

-probability of occurrence and scientific uncertainty

-often completed subjectively using professional judgement

-ie. probability low/moderate/high

-ie. confidence low/mod/high

-Use confidence limits if appropriate.

 

CONCLUSION** GUIDANCE

1)Make significance determinations transparent

2)Document All Assumptions

3)Provide a Rationale for Conclusions

Making The Decision

THE DECISION

EA decision is the final step in the EA process

-It is where the RA must finally conclude whether there is a likelihood of significant adverse environmental effects

Based on that conclusion, the RA determines what course of action must be taken (ie. will it provide federal support for the project to go ahead or not)

 

WHO MAKES THE DECISION?

-the RA

The EA decision cannot be delegated

 

RA CONSIDERATIONS
-prior to making the EA decision the RA should ask:

-Have all teh requirements under CEAA been addressed?

-Has all relevant information been considered? (ie. Public Comments, First Nations)

-Is there a need to coordinate the decision-making process? (ie. federal coordination, fed-prov process…. harmonizing agreements)

 

EA DECISIONS UNDER CEAA
-5 possible conclusions and 3 possible actions (see handout)

 

TIMING OF EA DECISION

-Min 14 day period requred b4 RA decides

-Process must be documents on Internet site of registry

-Need to include a copy of the EA report and RA decision

-As well as any FUP

 

EA DECISION VS PROJECT DECISION

-EA decision determines whether the RA will provide federal support that would permit project to go ahead

-Project decision determines whethr the project will proceed

 

FACTORS CONSIDERED UNDER PROJECT DECISION

-socio-economic issues

-political will

-public concerns

-feasibility studies

-project costs

-other approvals

Implementing a Follow-up Program

It is RA responsability to ensure an adequate follow-up program is implemented (if required)

 

Def: “verifying the accuracy of the predictions made in EA, and determining the effectiveness of any mitigation measures”

 

PURPOSE

-find out what happens on ground, correct problems, get info to improve further EAs

 

WHEN IS ONE APPROPRIATE?

-if the project is environmentally sensitive, high public concern, mitigation measures require verification, cumulative effects (contentious) or if there is uncertainty regarding effects.

Questions to consider when designing a follow-up program

MAIN

1)What is the main objective of the FUP?

-verify accuracy of predictions?

-verify effectiveness of mitigation measures?

 

OTHER QUESTIONS

-What should be measured?

-When, how often?

-Will the FUP provide answers that are within the accuracy required for the study?

-Will the data collected differentiated between project effects and other factors?

-What will you do with the results?

 

CONSIDERATIONS

-time and cost (should include in budget)

-roles and responsability (who will do it, who will pay, who has authority to modify project if issues arise?)

-reporting requirements (weekly? monthly? quarterly?)

-release of findings

Follow-up Mitigation and Monitoring Plans

Terms used to describe FUP:

-monitoring

-audit or post-audit

-inspection

-testing

 

Monitoring vs. FUP

-monitoring only a component of FUP

-Compliance Monitoring responds to whether the mitigation measures were implemented

-FUP responds to were the mitigation measures effective

 

MITIGATION MONITORING PLANS

Usually include:

-policy or performance standards

-measures to be implemented

-roles and responsabilities

-schedule

-monitoringm reporting commitments

-contingency plans

 

WHAT ARE THEY?

-MMP are plans prepared by the proponent to ensure mitigation measures are impleented effectively and on schedule

-MMPs are often referred to as environmental protection plan (EMP) or environmental management plan (EMP)

 

USING FUP RESULTS
-CEAA states that a FUP may be used for:

-implementing adaptive management measures

-improving the quality of future EA
-NOTE: where a FUP is requires as part of a regulatory approval, failure to impleent could result in non=compliance with the regulatory approval

Public Participation (What is it? Who is the Public? Considerations?)

Two reasons why projects go to court are inadequate scoping and inadequate public participation.

 

WHAT IS IT?

-A process for sharing information with and gathering input from members of the public.

 

WHO IS PUBLIC?

-local residents

-aboriginal people

-local and regional gov

-community organizations

-small business owners

-ed institutions

-PIGs

-Media

 

IS IT APPROPRIATE?

-it is not mandatory under CEAA**** screenings…. but it is under comp. studies

 

RA SHOULD CONSIDER…

-Public interest

-Potential for conflict

-Likely aboriginal issues

 (ab. rights, land claims, self-gov agreements)

-sig env effects

-uncertainty regarding effects

 

 

Why do Public Participation? What are Challenges?

WHY?

-promote good decision making

-increas public awareness

-identify public support/concerns

-imporve the project and EA

-avoid future disputes

-increase EA credibility

-support legal requirements (****fed gov has a fiduciary obligation to adequately consult Aboriginal peoples)

 

Challenges

1)identify the right  groups/individuals

-avoid irrelevant/special interest groups

 

2)determine the most appropriate approach

-select a method based on wchich segment of the public you with to reach and the type of feedback you are looking for.

-workshops

-internet (access?)

-written responses

-open house/public meetings

 

3)Managing time and Cost

-participant funding usually available for large projects

-compensations for participants (travel, food, etc)

 

Benefits include LOCAL KNOWLEDGE (past history, natural cycles, community values), and CREDIBILITY (ensure public understands the project and potential effects)

Why involve the public? Levels of Public Involvement?

REGISTRY

-Registry provides access to EA information, but is not considered public participation.

Public Notices to participate in an EA process must be posted on Registry’s Web Page

-The following must be maintained n less than 14 days prior an EA decision is made:

  • notice of commencement
  • description of scope of Project
  • description of factors to be considered (issues)
  • public comments

;

LEVELS OF PUBLIC INVOLVEMENT

***more public involvement means less RA control

inform: privide information so public understands

consult: obtain public input on analysis/interpretation/decisions

involve: work with public during process to ensure concers are considered

collaborate

Partner: with public to find solutions/alternatives during process

Planning Approach for PP and Meaningful PP

PLANNING APPROACH

PP needs:

1)clear objectives

-parties need to now why they are there, and how their information will be used

2)appropriate information

-people respond depending on HOW information is presented

ensure it is understandable and presented in an appropriate format and language

;

3)adequate review time

-give public time to read and evaluate it (notification time)

;

4)feedback on how input was used

;

MEANINGFUL PUBLIC PARTICIPATION

Key Elements

-Early Notification

-Easy access to Information

-Information sharing

-Respect for Community/Cultureal Values

-Opportunity to Evaluate Information and Respond

-Interactive participation

***participants should be able to involve at a level consistent with their interest

-flexibility (adapt the program as issues arise)

-Results incorporated in EA and documented

SARA – Objectives, listing process, and lists

Listing Process

-species are designated “at risk” by the COSEWIC (committee on the status of endangered wildlife in canada)

-the federal cabinet then decides whether those species should be listed under SARA

-once it is listed, recovery strategies and acton plans are developed

-must identify threats to critical habitat and outline approaches to addressing those threats

;

SCHEDULE 1

-the act establishes this as the official list of wildlife species at risk (Endangered, threatened, special concern)

;

SCHEDULE 2 and 3

-represent a backlog of at risk species that have been previously identified by COSEQIC

;

SARA

-became law in June 2003, enforceable in June 2004

General Prohibitions under SARA. When does it apply?

Sections 32 and 33 prohibit:

-illing and harassment of individuals

-possession and collection of individuals

-damage or destruction residences

;

When do SARA provisions apply?

-General prohibitions apply to extirpated, endangered and threatened species

-listed on schedule 1 which occur on federal lands (NOT species of special concern)

-aquatic species, regardless of land tenure

-migratory birds, regardless of land tenure

;

IMPLICATIONS

-limited application (only 5% of Can is fed land)

-aquatic species and mig birds are already protected under Fisheries Act and Migratory Birds Convention Act (MBCA) respectively

-SARA, for example, does not apply to swift fox or burrowing owl on prov/private lands

-Whether it is an issue depends on degree of protection offered by province

;

***Safety Net exists…. descretionary fed action can occur if EC feels province or territory is not doing enough to protect species

Critical Habitat and Legal Requirements (SARA)

Section 58 of SARA prohibits destruction of critical habitat

Defined as: “Habitat that is necessary for the survival or recovery of a listed species and that is identified as the species critical habitat in the recover strategy or recover plan for the species”

;

LEGAL REQUIREMENTS

-Subsection 79(s) of SARA states that the RA

-must identify adverse effects on listed species

-ensure measures are taken to avoid or lessen the effects (mitigate)

-monitor the effects

;

CEAA was amended to redefine environmental effect… “any change that the project may cause in environment including any change that it may cuase to a listed wildlife species, its critical habitat or the residences of individuals of that species”

;

******If CEAA is triggered, SARA is triggered.

HOWEVER, SARA does not trigger CEAA (ie. SARA has not been added to Law List Regulations)

;

;

DUE DILIGENCE vs LEGAL OBLIGATION

-must address potential adverse effects on species listed on Schedule 1 = legal

-Best practices suggest proponents include other species identified at risk by COSEWIC or other jurisdictions = due diligence

;

BEST PRACTICES GUIDE

-If a listed species on Sched 1 occurs in your study area, it will require special attention in the EA (ie. make species a VEC)

-Your assessment must consider the effects on the listed species, their critical habitat or resitence

-Notify the competent ministers (Minister of Environment, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, Minister of Canadian Heritage)

-Provide mitigation and Monitoring programs.

Provincial Environmental Assessment

EA process incorporated into AB’s Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act (EPEA) – Part 2, Division 1

 

PURPOSE OF AB EA

-gather info required by regulatory agencies and resource managment decision-makers

-provide an opportunity for public involvement

-support sustainable development

 

WHO is Responsible for EA in AB?

-Project proponent is responsible for preparing EA report

-AB environment is responsible for administering AB’s laws governing EA

;

Two Regulations Provide Direction Related to EA in AB

1)Environmental Assessment Regulation

2)Environmental Assessment (Mandatory and Exempted Activities) Regulation

;

Other EA processes may be federal or municipal

;

FEDERAL/PROVINCIAL COOP

-Agreement signed in 1999 that outlines how they cooperate on EAs (feds and AB)

-establishes process for a single EA to avoid duplication and ensure efficiency

-Harmonization Agreements are in place for other provinces as well

Other Regulatory Agencies (Provincial EA)

Natural Resources Conservation Board (NRCB) is a regulatory agency of the Gov of AB

-it reviews proposals for projects that affect AB’s non-energy natural resources, and regulates Alberta’s confined feeding operations.

-Natural Resources Conervation Board Act

-Agricultural Operation Practices Act

;

The Alberta Energy and Utilities Board (EUB)

an independent, quasi-judicial agency of Gov of AB

-regulates the safe, responsible, and efficient development of AB’s energy resources (oil, natural gas, oil sands, coal, electrical… as well as pipelines to move resources)

-Under the umbrella of the Alberta Energy and Utilities Board Act, the EUB is governed by more than 30 pieces of legislation that regulate Alberta’s energy resource and utility sectors

ie…..

-coal conservation act

-electric utilities act

-oil sands conservation act

-pipelines act

Stages of Prov EA

1)Determination of Need

-initial review by AB Environment

-Mandatory vs Non-Mandatory

-proponent must prepare screening report, which is to determine the most appropriate environmental review process

;

2)Proparation of EA Report

-Proponent prepares draft Terms of Reference (TOR) aand provides them to public and AB environment for review

;

3)Technical Review

-EA report reviewd by AB environment and associated public agencies

-completed through TEAM of specialized experts

-Purpose of review is to ensure requirements of TOR and EPEA have been met, project is adequately described, env effects have been identified using proper methods and science, proponent has identified monitoring programs to manage residual effects

;

-Make sure Baseline case, application case, and cumulative effects have been addressed

-make sure public consultation has occurred.

-If anything is unclear, may request supplemental information

;

Step 4- Decision

-When review team is satisfied, EA report is sent to REM

-REM will advise proponent and Board/Minister

-Board/Minister will make project-decision regarding yes/no

-if Application referred to EUP or NRCB, the board will proceed with its normal application review process which may include Public HEarings

Wetlands

Defined:

A land that is saturated with water long enough topromote wetland or aquatic processes as indicated by:

-poorly drained soils

-hydrophytic vegetation

;

Include bogs, fens, marches, swamps, shallow waters (2m deep or les) as defined in the Canadian Wetland Classification System

;

Propery Rights

-The water in a wetland is owned by the provincial crown as defined in the Water Act

The surrounding land may be privately owned or held by another jurisdiction

;

Responsability

-Wetland conservation is a shared federal, provincial, territorial, as well as municipal responsability.

Fed interest related to international conventions (Ramsar Convention, North American Waterfowl Plan, Migratory birds)

;

GUIDELINES

-CWS (Canadian Wildlife Service) has fed guidelines that outlines what Env Can expects to see in a EA conducted under CEAA

-The guieline has been developed to be consistent with the Federal Policy on Wetland Conservation (Gov of Can 1991)

;

Best Practices Should be FOllowed When:

-A proposed project is expected to have an effect on a wetland under federal jurisdiction

-effect on a nonfederal wetland while at the same time triggering an environmental assessent under CEAA

-When EC is involved in the review of an env assesment of another jurisdiction and there is potential to affect a wetland

;

OBJECTIVE
-To promote conservation of Canada’s wetlands to sustain their ecological and socio-economic functions, now and in the future

 

OVERRIDING PRINCIPLE: NO NET LOSS!!!!

Wetland Functions, Values, Effects

Functions/Values

-Hydrological

-biogeochemical

-habitat

-ecological

-social/cultural/commercial values

-aesthetic values

-Education/Public awareness

 

Wetlands are VECs!!

**If there are wetlands located in proximity to the project area or in the area affected by the project, they SHOULD always be included in the list of VECs…

 

ENVIRONMENTAL EFFECTS

-spatio-temporal extent and degree should be outlined

-vegetation removal

-sedimentation

-soil compaction

-contamination

-nutrient loading

-acidification

-fragmentation

 

A PROJECT CAN ONLY BE EXCLUDED IF IT IS NOT CLOSE TO A WATER BODY!!!

No Net Loss! Strict Mitigation! (avoid, minimize, compensate)

 

Setback distances for oil/gas wells need to be more than 100m from a wetland

-(patterned fen… McClelland Lake Wetland Complex)

TEK

s16.2 of CEAA states: “Community knowledge and aboriginal traditional knowledge may be considered in conduction an environmental assessment”

 

Aboriginal people have strong desire and right to meaningfully participate in federal EAs where a project has the potential to infringe upon or adversely impact their rights/interests

 

TEK: a cuulative body of knowledge and beliefs, handed down through generations by cultural transission, about the relationship of living beings with one another and with their environment

 

WHY Include in EA?

-Some knowledge gaps that western science cannot fill

-Can provide valuable info where historical data are lacking

ie. Herring pop crash folling Exxon Valdez Oil Spill in Prince Williams Sound, AK

 

TEK Features

-knowledge of ecological principals (interrelatedness)

-Sustainable arvesting of resources, especialy plants (ethnobotany)

-help identify potential env effects

-contribute to building of relationships b/w proponents and ab groups

-build an awareness of and apreciation for TEK in non-ab communities

Science and TEK

EIAs are typically reductionist (ie VECs)

 

This process of compartmentalizing biophysical components is inconsistent with the aboriginial view of the world, which sees all aspects of the environment as equally important.

 

In aboriginal peoples’ “holistic” view, biophsical components can be separated neither from each other nor from the human components (social, cultural, spiritual, and economic aspects)

;

If social and environmental impacts are to be linked, aboriginal communities and TEK must be part of the environmental process

;

EX;

-BHP Diamond Mine, NWT

-Voisey’s Bay Nickel Mine, Labrador

-Mackenzie Valley Gas Pipeline

Barriers to Integration of TEK

1)Perceptual

-Distinct dif b/w ab view of significant and what proponents perceive as significant impacts

 

2)Skepticism

-within scientific community about credibility/reliability

-dismissed as not “hard empirical data”

 

3)Political Obstacles

-May be complications, and not politically palatable to policy makers

-Ab leaders withholding information under controversial unresolved land claims

-Ab peoples do not consider themselves as “stakeholders”… they have “constitutionaly protected rights”

 

**Crown has fiduciary responsibility to consult First Nations. This does NOT necessarily mean incorporation of TEK into EA

 

*Be aware of cultural differences

*Ethical principles… RESPECT!!

 

FUTURE?

-Consider science and TEK as complementary… not competing forms of knowledge

-When TEK and western scietific knowledge are ued in a balanced and complementary manner, they can provide a powerful tool for sustainable development and environmental assessment within Canada

Detecting Environmental Impacts Caused By Human Activities

Challenge: Detect significant effect due to project.

Need to isolate predicted effects from “noise” associated /w natural spatial and temporal variability.

 

*Need threshold criteria to define both effect and significant effect!!

 

 What will variable be? (SO2? population size?

 

CONSTRAINTS

-randomized allocation of impact sites not done

-cannot meet many assumptions of statistical distributions used to test hypotheses (ANOVA)

-No spatial or temporal replication (1 site, 1 year of study)

 

SAMPLE DESIGNS

 

Control-Impact Design

compare control to impact site

-any differences attributed to project (human activities)

-N=1 for both sites

-no spatial replication

-differences may be due to spatial variation b/w sites

-temporal variation not accounted for

-different responses to natural environmental changes

 

Before-After Design

-Sample impact site before and after

-avoids problem of spatial variation but fails to deal with temporal variability

 

BACI

-improved design… before-after-control-impact

-replicate samples taken several times before project begins (baseline) and several times after at both impact and control site.

-deals with temporal variation, but not with spatial variation (ie. two sites will not be exactly the same)

 

BACI designs use ANOVA to test for significant interactions terms between location (control vs impact) and time (before vs after) project activities

 

FURTHER IMPROVEMENTS..

-use BACI but use multiple control sites

SEA… What is it? Basic Principles? Advantages?

PREMISE
-Based on the notion that many of the decisions potentially affecting the environment are made long before project proposals

 

WHAT IS SEA?

-refers to the environmental assessment of public policies, plans, programs and other alternatives

-it extends project-based EIAs to a broader strategic level…. less advanced than EIA

 

BASIC PRINCIPLES

-strategically focused

-Future Orientated

-Focused on alternatives

-Objectives led

-Proactive

-Integrated

-Broad Focus

-Tiered

 

 

In Canada, SEA is a policy requirement under the 1999 “Directive on the Environmental Assessment of Policy Plans and Program Proposals”

Underlying principle in SEA recognizes that in order to make informed decisions that support sustainable development, you need to integrate social, economic and environmental considerations with policy plan and program proposals.

 

ADVANTAGES OF SEA

-Streamline project-based EA by identifying potential impacts and cumulative effects

-consider potential cumulative environmental effects of proposals (at broader scale)

-more pro-active and systematic approach to decision making

-save time and oney by setting the context for regional as well as project-based EA

-promote accountability and credibility among the general public and stakeholers

-conribute to broader governmental policy commitments and obligations

Types of SEA

Specific type of SEA will vary according to the regulatory system and assessment context.

 

POLICY BASED SEA

-applies to policies that have no “on-the-ground” applications

-ie. fiscal policies or national energy policies

-ie. SEA for NAFTA

 

 

SECTOR-BASED SEA

-Applies to sector-based policies, programs such as forestry plans or oil and gas programs.

Emphasis is placed on the initiatives of and alternatives to sector based plans, policies or programs that may lead to environental change

EX: Canada-Nova Scotia SEA of offshore oil and gas development

 

Benefits

-prevents or avoids potential significant effects throug hte assessment and development of sector-wide plans before project decisions are made

-allows for development of sector-wide environmental management strategies

-facilitates the inclusion of other sector interests

 

REGIONAL BASED SEA

-a means of assessing the potential environmental effects of a plan or program initiative within a particular region

-includes an evaluation of alternative options in an effort to inform decision-makers of the preferred option

-often applied to land use planning initiatives

 

EX

-Bow River Valley Corridor…. evaluated the potential effects of competing land uses (oil and gas, mining, urban expansion, agriculture grazing)

-NWT Cumulative Effects Assessment and Management Strategy and Framework (CEAM)

 

Benefits

-influences planning in area

-encourages long-erm planning

-helps idenify and avoid conflicting developments and plans

-sets context for project-based proposals and assessments

****

 

SEA may be both sector and regionally based

ie. Mackenzie Delta and Beaufort Sea Reserves SEA

-Unuvialuit concerns

-long-term environmental and social sustainability of the region

-potential cumulative environmental and social impacts of oil and gas activity (offshore/onshore)

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