A process for predicting, evaluating, mitigating, monitoring and managing environmental effects of a proposed Project (PEMMM)–Helps guide the decision-making processPrimary Purpose:•Include the environment in planning and decision-making to ensure environmental sustainability.–Biophysical environment–Human environment–To ensure that development decisions are made with full knowledge of environmental consequences
Origins of EIA
First system established in USA in 1970-National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)-Proponents required to include and EI Statement (EIS) in their proposail Development-Initially, EIA criticized as a tool to justify decisions already made-Potential wider projects effects outside of local area often ignored-By 1980s, more information was collected but reports were often very lengthy and simply a large compilation of biophysical data -In the 1980s and 90s EIA evolved to include broader regional and social impacts, due in part to major global initiatives
The Brundtland Report
The UN set up a commission to looks at environmental issues in 1983-the Brundtland commission produced a final report entitled ‘Our Common Future’ in 1987 World Recognition of EIA: “Development that meets the needs of the present without compomising the ability of furture generations to meet their own needs.”
Dimensions of EA
Multi-Dimensional Approach -Dimensions are biophysical, Human, Social, Economic, Cultural, Health -On local, regional, and national scales-temporal scale of past present and future
Brundtland to Rio
The Bruntland Report recommended further international meetings to reduce the effects of human activities on the environment for future generations This led to the first Earth Summit, held in Rio Brazil in 1992
Canadian Fed. Gov.
Taks force delivered a report to the federal government in 1972-During the 1970s EA was a review process based on guidelines only Established teh Federal Environmental Assessment Review Office (FEARO) in April 1974.
The Berger Inquiry
One of the first and most important environmental assessments was the 1977 inquiry into the Mackenzie Valley pipeline proposal-proposed to construct two pipelines to deliver natural gas from the Arctic Ocean to southern markets -The inquiry recommended that the pipeline not proceed and this recommendation was adopted by the Federal Government Problems With the Guidelines-Court challenges raised questions and recognized problems with the Guidelines Order-These problems with the Order affected its application, administration and enforcement-As a result the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (CEAA) was developed in 1992
Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency created in 1994 to oversee the Act -Although it had royal assent in June of 1992, political issues, a federal election and further legislative hearings and amendments prevented the Act becoming law until Jan 19 1995-Five Year Review-2001-Amended in 2003 THE ACT-many questions arise when planning a project and carrying out an EA-Is an EA necessary?-What legal requirements must be addressed?-Should the public and stakeholders be involved?-The Act provides answers and guidance on these issues and others ABOUT THE ACT-Applies to fed gov depts and agenceis-sets out roles an dresponsibilities related to the EA process-recommends the types of EA and the EA process to be followed PURPOSe-Ensure projects are considered in a precautionary manner to ensure they do not cause significant adverse environmental effects
EA is an integral part of sustainable development-Good EA ensures that environmental costs and benefits and any related socio-cultural and economic issues are considered in the decision making process…before projects are allowed to proceed
Climate Change and EA
-EAs have the potential to reduce effects of climate change-Project contribution to GHG-effects of climate change may have on the project (sometimes EA can contribute to Sust. Dev)-Reducing, Reusing, Recycling-Deconstruction/Decommissioning vs demolishing-Plannign for future expansions or needs-Incorporating green technologies
CEAA- 4 key Regulations
Inclusion List- Physical ActivitiesExclusion List- Minor/Smaller or routine projectsLaw List- ie Fisheries Act, Navigable Waters ActComprehensive Study List- Large projects expected to have complex potential environmental effects
Does the act apply? (CEAA)
1)Is there a Project? (No = Does not apply)Yes = 22)Is the Project Excluded? (Yes= does not apply)No=33)Is there federal authority? (no = act does no apply), yes= 44)Is there a trigger? (no= not apply)Yes=Act applies
CEAA- What is a “project”
A project is ..
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.in relation to a physical work, any proposed construction, operation modification, decommissioning, abandonment or other undertakings in relation to that physical work OR Any prposed physical activity not related to a physical work that is prescribed pursuant to the Inclusion List Regulations
Inclusion List Regulations (CEAA)Examples of Physical Activites
-Dredging-Abandonment or disposal of prescribed substances-military training-importation of animals for agricultural purposes-operation of a garbage dump on an Indian Reserve
Is the project Excluded?(CEAA)
YES,- if it is listed on the exclusion list regulations- if in response to a national emergencyOR- in response to an emergency to prevent damage to property, environment or health and safety Exclusion List Examples-construction of small buildings with a footprint less than 100square meters and less than 5m height-repair and maintenance of an existing physical work-proposed construction of sidewalk, boardwalk, or parking lot with capacity of 10 automobiles or fewer
What is a Federal Authority? (CEAA)
Any federal body (department or agency) that may have expertise or a mandate relative to the proposed project-The Responsible Authority (RA) is teh lead federal agency responsible for EA and decision. FAs provide advice.
Specifically, the Act applies to…
1)federal minister of the crown2)a department or corporation3)an agency or other body accountable to through a minister
CEAA, 4 triggers
The Act applies when a federal department or agency exercises power duty or function as described in section 5 of CEAA -Feds are proponent-feds provide money-feds transfer/sell land to enable a project to proceed-law list regulation (regulatory duty)
Four Types of Federal EA (CEAA)
-screening-comprehensive study-assessment by Review panel-mediation Guiding Principles-screenings and comprehensive studies are considered a self-assessment (or self-directed EA)-because the RA is responsible for ensuring the EA is conducted in accordance with the Act Independent Assessments are those conducted by a mediator or Review Panel appointed by the federal Minister of the Environment
What is a screening? (CEAA)
•“A systematic approach for identifying and documenting the environmental effects of a proposed project and determining the need to avoid or minimize (mitigate) the adverse effects, to modify the project plan or to recommend further assessment through mediation or an assessment by a review panel” (CEAA 2003). Screenings assess a wide range of Projects•Depending on the circumstances of the Proposed Project, existing environment and likely environmental effects, screenings will……–Vary in time required to preparelength and depth of analysis
Comprehensive Study (CS) (CEAA)
-CS are a more in-depth analysis than screenings-includes all factors considered in screening as well as alternative to project and mandatory public participation
Review Panel Assessments
EA conducted by panel of people who are:-unbiased-free from conflict of interest (relative to the project)-knowledge or experience (relevant to the anticipated effects of the project)
Key Principles for CEAA
-early application-self-directed assessment-open and participatory-efficiency and effectiveness
Scoping and CEAA
The scope of project and scope of the assessment establishes the boundaries for the environmental analysis and defines which issues need to be addressed in accordance with the ActTHIS IS A CRUCIAL STEP What is scoping?It’s deciding what’s IN and OUT-necessary step in order to:-delineate boundaries of assessment-focus the EA on right issues-identify specifically what is being assessed-ensure timely and efficient process SCOPING-Need a detailed project description to adequately scope the project-the act specifies the elements that ned to be considered:RA determines scopeDefines whether two projects can be assessed as one (related projects)-all phases of the project need to be assessed (construction, operation, decommissioning etc) RA must also ensure scoping determines:-potential environmental effects-all relevant issues-public comments-ie. scope the assessment *RA should do this before proponent moves forward (rarely works this way in real life)
Five Scoping Steps
1)gather relevant information2)Scoping the Project3)Identify Environmental Components4)Scopnig the Assessment5)Verifying and documenting scope
Scoping Step 1
Gathering INformation •Desktop study–Maps/air photos–Previous studies–Species inventories•Site Visit•Discussions with stakeholders–First Nations (Traditional Ecological Knowledge) –TEK–Federal agencies–Other jurisdictions–Consultants–public
Scoping Step 2
Scope the Project •Refers to the components of the proposed activity that should be considered as part of the project.•Important to consider–PRINCIPAL Project•Main physical work or activity–ACCESSORY Project•Activities or physical works required to in order to complete PRINCIPAL Project (i.e., linked and interdependent)
Scoping- Case Study Sunpine Forest Products LTD.
•In 1995, SFP was granted authorization by the Alberta Government to build a new mainline road to access forest resources and transport logs to their mill in Strachan, Alberta.•Applications for two bridges required along the road were also filed under the Navigable Waters Protection Act (NWPA).•This triggered CEAA (Law List Regulation)•AT ISSUE: Is the scope of the Project the two bridges or the two bridges and the road?Result•CCG/DFO approved the screening based solely on the two bridges•Landed in court•Failed to comply with specific sectionof CEAA “consider all related undertakings”and …. “cumulative effects” of CEAA.•As well as access to information (i.
e. public registry)
•Court ruled in favour of Env.
•Feds appealed and ultimately won (i.e., the Project was scoped to include the two bridges only)What did we learn from this?•The Federal Government Agency as the RA has the discretion to scope the project as they see it.•The EA must include an analysis of cumulative effects•Need to make information more accessible to public.
Scoping Step 3
Identifying Environmental Components •Important because it will form the basis for the detailed assessment.•Need to describe:–Project Setting–Physical Environment–Biological Environment–Socio-Cultural EnvironmentBiophysical Environmentn Major Rivers/Creeks/Lakesn Fish Speciesn Soilsn Vegetation Communitiesn Wildlife Habitatsn Rare Speciesn AirSocio-economic/cultural environmentnSocio-economic conditionsn Economy, jobsn Land usesn Traditional land useCultural Conditionsn Historical sitesn Archaeologyn PaleontologicalnHuman Healthn Toxicityn Noisen Stress
Valued Ecosystem Componentdefined as… “any part of the environment that is considered important by the proponent, members of the public, scientists, and government involved in the assessment process-Imoprtance may be determined on the basis of cultural values or scientific concerns
Criteria for selecting VECs
-Legal requirements (fish habitats/migratory birds)-Public visibility/appeal-Economic Importance-Conservation Status (species at risk)-sensitivity to Disturbance-Importance to First Nations EXAMPLES-Fish/fish habitat-vegetation resources-water resources-air quality-marine environment-wildlife and wildlife habitat NEED TO SELECT VEC CAREFULLY!-Under CEAA need to asses the environmental effects and significance on the VEC-If our VECs are too specific, often criticisms regarding why you didn’t include others (species)-Try to keep broad but reasonable-Too broad- bceome meaningless for EA (ie. species diversity);
Scoping Step 4
;Scoping the Assessment-potential env effects-spatial and temporal boundaries-effects of malfunctions and accidents-cumulative env effects-significance of effects-comments received from public-mitigation measures;Careful when selecting boundaries!-Use scientific robust criteria as much as possible (ie. ZONE OF INFLUENCE ZOI) may extend beyong Project Footprint certain VECs**Need to consider when and how each VEC will interact with or be influenced by Project and activities;;-Spatial Boundaries may be physical (watersheds), biological (habitats), or political-Temporal boundaries set by the “life of the project”-Construction, operation, decommissioning;;Verifying and Documenting the Scope-Documenting scope should provide:1)temporal and spatial boundaries with rationale of delineation2)Rationale for scoping both project components as well as environment components in or out3)Should provide criteria for selection of environmental components;;*A description of the scope of the project must be posted on the Registry’s Internet Site
The Project and Assessment has been scoped…
examine the potential interactions b/w a project and environment predict environmental effects Describe those effects IDENTIFYING EFFECTS-specific identification of interactions between project and VEC-analysis of those interactions to predict potential environmental effects-to accurately identify a potential effect watch under and over estimation (lose credibility)
•Relate assessment to scoping factors•Focus on what matters (comes with experience)•Level of Effort = potential for adverse effects•Use existing information where possible•Consult experts and public where appropriate•Identify gaps and collect new data•Document data limitations and assumptions.•Relate assessment to scoping factors•Focus on what matters (comes with experience)•Level of Effort = potential for adverse effects•Use existing information where possible•Consult experts and public where appropriate•Identify gaps and collect new data•Document data limitations and assumptions.
Focus on relevant issues!USE GOOD SOURCES OF INFORMATION!n A literature review or a reconnaissance site visit may indicate that a particular effect is not of concernSources of Environmental InformationnPreviously completed EAs!nRegional studiesnTechnical ReportsnLand Use Planning Documents!nScientific LiteraturenDatabasesnBUT….. BEWARE OF THE QUALITY OF EXISTING INFORMATION (i.
e. use it critically)
5 Key Analysis Steps
Describe Project Activities
2.Describe Environmental Attributes
3.Identify Project-Environment Interactions
Predict Environmental Effects
5.Describe Environmental Effects
Analysis Step 1
Describing Project Activities n Obtain boundaries from scoping exercisen Identify all project components and activitiesn Describe activities in space and timeExample– Power Generating Stationn Construction of access roadn Construction of facilityn Installation of water intake systemn Construction of parking lotn Construction of municipal infrastructure
Analysis Step 2
Describing Environmental Attributes n Obtain boundaries from scoping exercisen Describe VEC – Existing Conditionsn This is your “Baseline”n VERY IMPORTANT – because this is what you will be comparing the effects of the Project to
Step 3 Analysis
Identify Project-Envirnoment Interactions -checklists-matrix tables-network diagrams-Overlay maps/GIS-expert systems GUIDING PRINCIPLE–use a systematic logical approach-more efficient-minimizes the chance yo might overlook a potential environmental effect
Methods for identifying project-environment interactions
Checklistsn Simplen Most useful for smaller projectsn Do not address higher order effects or interrelationships between effectsMatrixn Provide more detail regarding potential interactionsn Can be broadn Or VEC specificNetwork AnalysisnDiagrams linking project activities to potential effects.Overlay Maps/GISnInteraction of proposed pipeline route with grizzly bear habitat (summer feeding areas).Computer Modelsn Scenario ModelingOther Toolsn Bayesian Belief Systemsn Environmental Risk Assessmentn Professional Experience****No method is overall best, but matrices are used widespreadTHINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN CHOOSING:n Type and size of projectn Types and number of alternatives being assessedn Nature of likely effectsn Experience with Methodn Resources available (money, time, people)
Analysis Step 4
Predicting Effects predicition: “an explicit statement about the condition of an environmental component in the future”-how where and when interactions occur WHAT to predict?Project developments often trigger 4 broad areas that affect biophysical systems:-Biological Change-Chemical Change-Physical Change-Ecosystem Change
EIA as an experiment and ‘Environmental Effects’ defined
EIA as an Experimentl Ideally, EIA should be viewed as an “experiment“where hypotheses and predictions are verified through monitoring.l Unfortunately, this has not been the case in most instances.
-Still have lots of knowledge gaps on “effects” of projects and untested assumptions.Environmental Effects…..
l According to the CEAA (the Act) an environmental effect is….l (a) any change that the project may cause in the environment, including any change it may cause to a listed wildlife species, its critical habitat or the residences of individuals of that species, as those terms are defined in subsection 2(1) of the Species at Risk Act (SARA).Environmental Effects…..definedl(b) any effect of any change referred to in paragraph (a) on–health and socio-economic conditions–physical and cultural heritage–the current use of lands and resources for traditional purposes by aboriginal persons, or–any structure, site or thing that is of historical, archaeological, paleontological or architectural significance or(c) Any change to the project that may be caused by the environment, whether any such change or effect occurs within or outside Canada.
Direct and Indirect Effects
l Direct Effects–An effect in which the cause-effect relationship has no intermediary effects (CEAA 2003). l …..as one which is caused by the action and occurs at the same time and place (NEPA).–more easily identifiedExamples:-clearing operations & loss of habitat-siltation and reduced H2O quality-blasting & increased noise levelsIndirect Effectsl Effects that are one or more steps removed from an interaction between project activity and VEC (CEAA 2003).l …those which are caused by the action and are later in time or farther removed in distance, but are still reasonably foreseeable (NEPA). More difficult to identifyExamples:–Decline in recreational fishing activity due to decline in fish populations–Increased mortality to wildlife due to increased road access (legal, illegal hunting)–Fewer predators that were dependent on small mammal and/or bird community that declined due to loss of habitat.
Prediction Methods (Analysis Step 4)
(extension of ‘methods used to identify potential environmental effects);l Professional Judgementl Simulation Models;; e.g., dispersion models used to predict effects on air quality;; e.g., wildlife population model designed to predict the effects of the project on female reproductive successl Make sure assumptions are appropriate for project and assessment area!Prediction Methodsl Field or Lab Experiments;; Conduct a study to predict the effectiveness of different mitigation techniques;; ;conduct a lab experiment to predict the effect of pollutant exposure to a fish speciesl Extrapolate from other EAs completed for similar projects and settings;;Level of PredictionPrediction methods should account for variability in the system or VEC (space in time) as well as uncertainty.;
Analysis Step 5
;Evaluation of Environmental Effects;EVALUATION CRITERIA:l Directionl Naturel Magnitudel Geographic Extentl Durationl Frequencyl Reversibilityl Ecological/Socio-economic Context ;Choosing the Right Words!;
Weak Vs. Strong Predictions of Effects
;l ;It is anticipated that the project will result in an insignificant effect on marten habitat;;l The prediction is weak because it does not:;;; Define the effect;;; Quantify the effect;;; Put the effect into a spatial/temporal population perspective;;; Provide a rationaleStronger Predictionl ;It is anticipated that vegetation clearing during the Construction phase will result in the direct loss of less than 1% (~ 10 ha) of available marten habitat within the Assessment Area. Other Examplesl A) ;Project will result in impaired water quality.;;l B) ;The Project will result in trivial effects on the bears.;;C) ;It is anticipated that there will be a 95% increase in suspended solids that will extend 1 km downstream and will occur twice per week and last 24 hours.;
What is CEA? and Legal basis
;CE are changes to the environment that are caused by an activity in combination with other past present and reasonably foreseeable human activities.;-CE are caused by the accumulation and interaction of multiple stresses affecting the environment.
-CEA is done to ensure incremental effects resulting fromt he combined influences of various actions are assessed-ie. single actions may be considered insignificant but incremental effects may be significant;LEGAL BASIS it is required by law “the environmental effects.
. and any cumulative effects that are likely to result from the project in combination with other projects or activities that have been or will be carried out
Biological Basis for CE
-We know ecosystems often respond to stress in a non-linear manner-therefore, apparently small incremental effects can result in abrupt and significant changes to ecosystems
Conditions for Potential CEA and what you are expected to do
Conditions for Potential CEA:-if local effects on VEC occur as a result of the action under review-if those VECs are afeted by other actions EXPECTED TO:-assess effects over a larger area (regional)-define larger spatial boundary-assess effects during a longer time period into the past and future-define longer temporal boundary-consider the effects on VECs due to interactions with other activities-include past/present/future-evaluate significance of CE
Examples of CE
AIR-combined SO2 emissions within a regional airshed-from 3 operating natural gas processing facilities within an airshed WATER-combined reductions in flow volumes within a particular river resulting from irrigation, mucicipal and industrial withdrawls WILDLIFE-combind black bear mortalities in a wildlife management unit from hunter harvest, road-kill and human-bear conflicts
*Network Diagrams or pathways are useful to identify potential CE* Consider whether the CE are… additive= combined effects are equal to sum of individual effectssynergistic= combined effecs greater than sum of individual effects
CE can occur in various ways….
Physical-chemical transpot–stressor transported away from project area-interacts with another action Nibbling Loss-“death by a thousand cuts” = gradual disturbance Spatial and Temporal Crowding-too much going on in one place at one time-overlapping effects Growth-inducing potential–spin off actions-ie. increased human disturbance due to new road access
CE challenges and solutions
CHALLENGES-project-based CEA vs Regional CEA-continued debate regarding who is responsible for conducting CE and extent of issues to be addressed-ie. proponents argure that they are assessing too many things that are not relevant to their project SOLUTIONS-proper scoping-strategc environmental assessment (SEA)-regional land use planning-Cumulative environmental management association (CEMA) COURT CASES-Sunpine Forest Products-issue: 2 bridges vs 2 bridges and road -Cheviot Coal Mine-issue: failure by the Review Panel to include forestry operations in the cumulative effects assessment as well as other mining projects-carnivore conservation (grizzly bear) LESSONS LEARNDED-need to clarify scoper determination early in the process to avoid:-lengthy legal challenges-costly project delays-possible project cancellation
What is mitigation?
According to CEAA (the act), mitigation is “the elimination, redution or control of the adverse environental effects of the project and includes restitution for any damage to the environment caused by such effects through replacement, restoration, compensation, or any other means.”
To eliminate or reduce potential enviornmental effects before they occur and to:-assist government decision-making-address legislative requirements (ie. CEAA, Fisheries Act)-assist project planning
When can mitigation be identified?
During Project Planning-cost effective EA Analysis-need to identify mitigation measures as part of the environmental effects evaluation-mitigation measures can then be applied during project construction, operation or decommissioning activities May also be identified as part of follow-up monitoring (unforseen effects)
4 key steps to identifying mitigation measures
identify the specific effects where and when mitigation is requiredidentify technically and economically feasible measures to mitigate environmental effectspredict the residual effect after mitigation applied (assume successful)moniter to confirm mitigation is working
Approaches and methods to mitigation
AVOID-alternative location-timing of construction-project design features MINIMIZE-minimum footprint-reduce/minimize construction phase-minimize overlap with critical time periods COMPENSATE-compensate for unavoidable losses-DFO policy- “no net loss of fish habitat);
Implementing mitigation and mitigation measures
;IMPLEMENTING MITIGATION-ensure proponent and regulatory authorities are in agreement-detail mitigation strategies in Environmental Protection Plan (EPP) or Enviornmental Management Plan (EMP)-remember mitigation mayhave to be applied during all phases of the project (construction, operation, decommissioning);MITIGATION MEASURES;-many mitigation measures represent “bestmanagement practices”EXAMPLE: natural gas pipeline installation (requires 2 stream crossings- one major river, one tributary, as well as access road);PEE (potential env effects)-alteration of in-stream habitat for steelhead trout-loss/alteration of riparian habitat-disturbance to local mountain goat population due to blasting activities-loss of sensitive wetland habitat;FISH-minimize removal of vegetation within riparian management area-revegetate /w native plants-develop and implement a sediment control plan (EPP)-use directional drilling for major river crossing-use bottomless culvert on tributary-conduct all in-stream activities b/w aug and sept;WILDLIFE-align pipeline ROW to avoid goat cliffs as much as possible-schedule blasting activities to avoid critical winter/lambing periods (nov-june)-reduce/restrict helicopter activity-monitor goat response;WETLAND-if possible, relocate ROW to avoid wetland-minimize disturbance (cross at narrowest point)-avoid construction activities during wetter periods-compensate for wetland loss;EVERYTHING CAN BE MITIGATED!IN THE END, WANT NO SIGNIFICANT RESIDUAL ADVERSE EFFECTSREVIEW CRITICALLY!!!!;