An evaluation of the environmental assessment process with respect to the planning of a major power corridor in southeastern Manitoba

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Glasgow, Alan Robertson
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Since the late 1960's and early 1970's, there has been an increased involvement by government in the environmental matters of project development. This initiative occurred, in Canada, as a response to public expressions of concern about the apparent uncontrolled and sectoral approach to land use and resource management, and the effects that this situation was having on the quality of the environment. As a result of these government actions, environmental assessment requirements have been established in virtually every senior jurisdiction by either legislation or policy directive... The objective of this research was to evaluate the environmental assessment process as it has been applied in the Province of Manitoba. The planning for a 500,000 vo1t, extra high voltage international powerline was used as a case study. This project was most appropriate for undertaking such an investigation insofar as no decisions on line location had been made prior to the initiation of the environmental assessment study. It was the first study to fully apply the National Energy Board guidelines for environmental assessment. Finally, it was the first major project to address the Provincial policy directive on environmental assessment and the new Planning Act (S.M. 1976). Involvement by others than the proponent, Manitoba Hydro, was an integral part of the environmental assessment process. It was found that the environmental assessment process which was applied on this electric transmission line study was an effective technique for including environmental matters in project decision-making. The assessment procedures facilitated a co-ordinated approach by the proponent, the government, departments and agencies and the public, and expedited the final approval by the Provincial Land Use Committee of Cabinet and the National Energy Board. Certain weaknesses in the Provincial institutional framework were discovered. This research shows that, while the Manitoba environmental assessment process is a useful planning tool, there is a need to refine and to standardize process and regulatory requirements...