OFA has expressed concern with regulatory posting ERO 019-6516 / 23-MECP004: Providing Authority to Waive or Alter the 30-day Waiting Period for Class Environmental Assessment Projects.
OFA is opposed to proposed amendments that would provide the ability to eliminate, waive or alter the 30-day waiting period following the comment period of a Class Environmental Assessment. Allowing a proponent to proceed as soon as a comment period closes amounts to an insult to the public who work within the system to provide comments regarding a project.
It is often through public consultation that proponents are made aware of negative unintended consequences of their projects. The 30-day waiting period provides time for the proponent to further investigate and mitigate concerns and unintended consequences that they may have overlooked.
Public participation is a critical component of environmental decision-making. The system must allow for meaningful participation to empower all those involved. The ability to eliminate this 30-day waiting period effectively negates any public participation in this process.