Pipeline industry drove changes to Navigable Waters Protection Act: documents

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OTTAWA - When the Harper government included a radical overhaul of the Navigable Waters Protection Act in its last omnibus bill, outsiders scratched their heads and wondered out loud where the idea had come from.

Documents obtained by Greenpeace through the Access to Information Act show it came, in part, from the pipeline industry.

A slide presentation shows the Canadian Energy Pipeline Association met with government officials in 2011, urging them to streamline environmental assessments and bring in "new regulations under (the) Navigable Waters Protection Act."

The association's president says the request to look at the legislation was part of the industry's pitch to have pipelines face just one single but stringent regulatory review.

The NDP says it's normal for industry to make such a pitch, but it's not normal for the federal government to simply adopt the industry position without a broader discussion.

A spokesman for Transport Minister Denis Lebel, however, says municipalities had been asking for years for changes.

Organizations: Greenpeace, Canadian Energy Pipeline Association, NDP

Geographic location: OTTAWA

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