In recent months, there have been several interesting environmental law decisions issued by the Federal Court of Canada. In both Greenpeace Canada v Canada (Attorney General), 2014 FC 463 (CanLII) and Council of the Innu of Ekuanitshit v Canada (Attorney General), 2014 FCA 189 (CanLII), the Court provides guidance on the federal environmental assessment regime. Both these cases consider the previous Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (CEAA) but, despite massive changes to federal environmental assessment law, assist in interpreting and applying the new Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012 (CEAA 2012).
In the Council of the Innu of Ekuanitshit decision, the Court considered an appeal from judicial review of an environmental assessment for the proposed Lower Churchill Hydroelectric Project. In this case, the proposed project was reviewed by a Joint Review Panel, which found that the project was likely to result in significant adverse environmental impacts that the federal Cabinet found to be “justified in the circumstances.” The Council of the Innu of Ekuanitshit challenged the decision on several grounds, including the justifiable adverse environmental impacts determination.
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