Federal budget would simplify environmental review process

The federal government answered years of oilpatch lobbying Thursday by promising in its budget to streamline environmental review of major industrial projects and impose hard timelines on decisions.

The Northern Gateway export pipeline that would move oilsands bitumen to Kitimat, B.C. will be subject to the changes, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty was quoted by various media as saying in Ottawa, though he and his officials gave no details on how a review long underway could be condensed.

Northern Gateway, embraced by industry but derided by environmental groups, is fast approaching the 24-month fixed timeline for panel reviews mandated by the budget. Enbridge Inc. applied with the federal Joint Review Panel in May 2010 for approval of the 1,200-kilometre pipeline from Bruderheim, Alta., meant to open international markets to rising crude production that's largely landlocked.

Enbridge Northern Gateway spokesman Paul Stanway said the Harper government's socalled one project, one review commitment "makes perfect sense," but declined in an emailed statement to comment in detail, pending forthcoming legislation arising from the budget.

Environmental consultation at risk — activist

Thursday’s federal budget is about favouring business over the environment and keeping Canadians quiet and in the dark on environmental issues, says activist Susanna Fuller.

The budget talks about maintaining the highest environmental standards, but follows immediately with a pledge to make it easier to push natural resource development through faster.

"We will streamline the review process for such projects, according to the following principle: one project, one review, completed in a clearly defined time period. We will ensure that Canada has the infrastructure we need to move our exports to new markets."

The marine co-ordinator for the Ecology Action Centre, Fuller said she believes the streamlining process is about trying to cut down on the amount of public consultation for controversial projects, such as mining and oil operations.

"They don’t like the fact that there’s 4,000 people lined up to speak against the Enbridge pipeline," Fuller said.

Enbridge Inc. plans to pipe crude oil from Alberta’s oilsands to Kitimat, B.C., and ship it from there by supertankers to Asian markets. Federal hearings into the pipeline project began in January in Kitimat. More than 4,300 people and groups have signed up to speak at the hearings.

Fuller said that part of her concern with streamlining the process is the projects cited in that part of the budget. "It’s mining and oil, mining and oil," she said.

Cardinal Solar Technologies cuts 53 jobs

A Cardinal Glass Industries factory in Mazomanie that makes tempered glass used in solar panels will lay off 53 people beginning Sunday, the company announced.

Cardinal Solar Technologies announced the layoff in a filing with the state Department of Workforce Development.

The plant is a subsidiary of Cardinal Glass Industries of Eden Prairie, Minn. The Mazomanie facility opened in 2009 to take glass produced at Cardinal’s glass factory in Portage and does the work of grinding, drilling and heating strengthening to temper glass used in the manufacturing of solar panels.

In its notice to the state, Cardinal cited “unforeseeable business circumstances” as the reason for the layoff.

Under state law, employers with 50 or more employees must give 60 days notice before a mass layoff or closing.

Source: JS Online

Kodak expected to lay off 80 employees

Dozens of Kodak employees are starting off the work-week with disappointing news.

Kodak is expected to lay-off 80 workers in Gates on Monday. The jobs are from Kodak’s Manitou Road facility in Gates.

News10NBC has also learned another 80 employees will be laid off at a plant in Dayton, Ohio.

Kodak filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in January, and the company is in the process of restructuring.

Source: Gateschili Post