Further to the news about the gutting of the Navigable Waters Protection Act (see yesterday’s blog entry), it now appears the federal Conservative government is indeed prepared to sacrifice the environment for short-term economic gain. So it would appear based on a report in the Globe and Mail today.

The national daily quotes Environment Minister John Baird as insisting the scrapping of rigorous environmental assessments for new projects will not harm the environment:

“These new regulations will help focus our resources by eliminating unnecessary assessments for public projects where we know from our accumulated experience that there are no adverse environmental consequences - in fact, where there are net environmental gains.”

Others, however, don’t share Baird’s worry-not views. Reports the Globe:

Conservationists and critics fear that this is part of Ottawa’s plan to overhaul the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act and dramatically reduce the number of reviews done each year to perhaps 200 or 300 from the current case load of thousands, according to leaked government documents.

Green Party Leader Elizabeth May called the changes announced yesterday part of the Harper government’s “bulldozers first, questions later kind of approach.”

“There’s a full-scale assault on the environment and they are using the economy as a cover,” she said.