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Copyright 2000: Queen’s Printer,
St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada

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Revised Statutes of Newfoundland 1990


CHAPTER E-14

AN ACT TO PROTECT THE ENVIRONMENT OF THE PROVINCE BY PROVIDING FOR ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT

Analysis

1. Short title

2. Definitions

3. Purpose of Act

4. Application of Act

5. Act binds Crown

6. Registration

7. Examination

8. Proponent advised

9. Statement not required

10. Report

11. Statement not required

12. Statement required

13. Draft terms of reference

14. Examination of draft

15. Assessment commenced

16. Notice

17. Proponent to meet public

18. Statement received

19. Statement deficient

20. Statement acceptable

21. Consultation

22. Assessment committees

23. Public interest

24. Board

25. Membership of board

26. Chairperson

27. Resident of area

28. Expenses

29. Public hearing

30. Report of hearing

31. Report sent to minister

32. Recommendation

33. Authorization

34. Monitoring

35. Liability

36. Service

37. Exemption

38. Regulations

39. Penalty

40. Offence


Short title

1. This Act may be cited as the Environmental Assessment Act.

1980 c3 s1

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Definitions

2. In this Act

(a) "air" means open or outside air not enclosed in a building or other human-made structure;

(b) "board" means an environmental assessment board appointed under section 24;

(c) "committee" means an assessment committee appointed under section 22;

(d) "department" means the Department of Environment and Lands;

(e) "environment" includes

(i) air, land or water,

(ii) plant and animal life, including human life,

(iii) the social, economic, recreational, cultural and aesthetic conditions and factors that influence the life of humans or a community,

(iv) a building, structure, machine or other device or thing made by humans,

(v) a solid, liquid, gas, odour, heat, sound, vibration or radiation resulting directly or indirectly from the activities of humans, or

(vi) a part or combination of those things referred to in subparagraphs (i) to (v) and the interrelationships between 2 or more of them;

(f) "environmental assessment" means a process by which the environmental impact of an undertaking is predicted and evaluated before the undertaking has begun or occurred;

(g) "environmental impact" means a change in the present or future environment that would result from an undertaking;

(h) "environmental impact statement" means a report that presents the results of a complete environmental assessment;

(i) "environmental preview report" means a report that presents the results of a preliminary environmental assessment based only on readily available information, and in which certain essential subjects may be incompletely treated due to a lack of data;

(j) "land" includes enclosed land, land covered by water, subsoil and all matter beneath the subsoil;

(k) "minister" means the Minister of Environment and Lands;

(l) "proponent" means a person who

(i) carries out or proposes to carry out an undertaking, or

(ii) is the owner or person having charge, management or control of an undertaking;

(m) "undertaking" means an enterprise, activity, project, structure, work, policy, proposal, plan or program that may, in the opinion of the minister, have a significant environmental impact and includes a modification, an extension, an abandonment, a demolition and a rehabilitation of that enterprise, activity, project, structure, work, policy, proposal, plan or program; and

(n) "water" means a surface or subterranean source of fresh or salt water within the jurisdiction of the province, whether that source usually contains water or not, and includes water above the bed of the sea that is within the jurisdiction of the province a river, stream, brook, creek, watercourse, lake, pond, spring, lagoon, ravine, gully, canal and other flowing or standing water and the land usually or at any time occupied by such a body of water.

1980 c3 s2; 1981 c10 Sch B; 1988 c43 Sch B

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Purpose of Act

3. The purpose of this Act is

(a) to facilitate the wise management of the natural resources of the province; and

(b) to protect the environment and quality of life of the people of the province,

through the institution of environmental assessment procedures prior to and after the commencement of an undertaking that may be potentially damaging to the environment.

1980 c3 s3; 1983 c51 s1

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Application of Act

4. This Act applies in respect of all undertakings carried out in the province, unless it is of a class of undertakings exempted by this Act or the regulations.

1980 c3 s4

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Act binds Crown

5. The Crown is bound by this Act.

1980 c3 s5

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Registration

6. (1) A proponent shall, before proceeding with the final design of an undertaking, notify the minister in writing, on a form prescribed by the regulations, concerning the proposed undertaking.

(2) The notification under subsection (1) shall be considered to be registration of an undertaking for the purpose of this Act.

1980 c3 s6

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Examination

7. The minister shall examine the information provided on the registration form under section 6, using criteria prescribed by the regulations to determine whether

(a) an environmental impact statement is required;

(b) an environmental impact statement may be required; or

(c) an environmental impact statement is not required.

1980 c3 s7

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Proponent advised

8. (1) The minister shall advise the proponent of his or her decision under section 7 within a period prescribed by the regulations.

(2) Until the proponent is advised under subsection (1), the proponent shall not proceed with the undertaking.

1980 c3 s8

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Statement not required

9. Where the minister decides that an environmental impact statement is not required, the proponent may proceed with the undertaking, subject to another Act or regulation.

1980 c3 s9

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Report

10. (1) Where, under paragraph 7(b), the minister decides that an environmental impact statement may be required, he or she shall order an environmental preview report.

(2) The minister shall provide the proponent with guidelines prescribed by the regulations for the preparation of an environmental preview report.

(3) The proponent

(a) shall undertake the necessary study for the preparation of an environmental preview report; and

(b) shall submit the environmental preview report to the minister by a mutually agreeable deadline.

(4) Upon receiving the environmental preview report, the minister shall examine the report to determine whether

(a) further environmental assessment is required; or

(b) a significant harmful environmental impact is indicated.

(5) An environmental preview report may be omitted where a proponent elects to proceed directly with the preparation of an environmental impact statement.

1980 c3 s10

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Statement not required

11. Where the minister decides upon receipt of an environmental preview report that an environmental impact statement is not required, the proponent may proceed with the undertaking, subject to another Act or regulation.

1980 c3 s11

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Statement required

12. Where the minister decides under paragraph 7(a) or paragraph 10(4)(a) that an environmental impact statement is required, he or she shall provide the proponent with guidelines prescribed by the regulations for the preparation of the statement.

1980 c3 s12

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Draft terms of reference

13. (1) The proponent shall submit draft terms of reference in writing to the minister for the purposes of an environmental assessment.

(2) The draft terms of reference referred to in subsection (1) shall be consistent with the guidelines referred to in section 12.

(3) The draft terms of reference referred to in subsection (1) shall refer to

(a) a description of the proposed undertaking;

(b) a description of and a statement of the rationale for

(i) the undertaking,

(ii) the alternative methods of carrying out the undertaking, and

(iii) the alternatives to the undertaking;

(c) a description of

(i) the present environment that will be affected or that might reasonably be expected to be affected, directly or indirectly by the proposed undertaking, and

(ii) the predicted future condition of the environment described under subparagraph (i) within the expected life span of the proposed undertaking, where the undertaking were not approved;

(d) a description of

(i) the effects that would be caused or that might reasonably be expected to be caused to the environment as described under paragraph (c), and

(ii) the actions necessary or that may reasonably be expected to be necessary to prevent, change, mitigate or remedy the effects upon or the effects that might reasonably be expected upon the environment,

by the undertaking;

(e) an evaluation of the advantages and disadvantages to the environment of the undertaking, the alternative methods of carrying out the undertaking and the alternatives to the undertaking;

(f) a proposed set of control measures or remedial measures designed to minimize any or all significant harmful impacts identified under paragraph (d);

(g) a proposed program of study designed to monitor all toxic substances and other harmful impacts that would be produced by the undertaking; and

(h) a proposed program of public information under section 17.

(4) The monitoring referred to in paragraph (3)(g) shall continue throughout both the construction and operational stages of the undertaking.

(5) The draft terms of reference referred to in subsection (1) shall contain the other information that may be prescribed by the regulations.

1980 c3 s13

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Examination of draft

14. (1) The minister shall examine the draft terms of reference submitted under section 13 to determine whether they are satisfactory to form the terms of reference for the environmental assessment.

(2) The minister shall advise the proponent of his or her decision.

(3) Where the draft terms of reference are unsatisfactory, the minister shall direct the proponent to modify the draft in the manner that the minister considers necessary.

1980 c3 s14

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Assessment commenced

15. Where the terms of reference for the environmental assessment have been agreed upon by the proponent and the minister, and approved in writing by the minister, the proponent shall begin the environmental assessment and submit the environmental impact statement to the minister by a mutually agreeable deadline.

1980 c3 s15

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Notice

16. (1) The minister shall publish a notice of the start of the environmental assessment in the Gazette and in a newspaper published

(a) in St. John's; and

(b) in the area of the proposed undertaking.

(2) Where there is no newspaper in general circulation in the area of the proposed undertaking, the notice referred to in subsection (1) shall be posted up in that area.

1980 c3 s16

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Proponent to meet public

17. (1) During the course of the environmental assessment, the proponent shall provide an opportunity for interested members of the public to meet with him or her, especially within or immediately adjacent to the geographical area of the proposed undertaking, in order

(a) to provide information concerning the proposed undertaking to the people whose environment may be affected by the undertaking; and

(b) to record the concerns of the local community regarding the environmental impact of the proposed undertaking.

(2) The procedure for public contact and involvement with the proponent may be prescribed by the regulations and the minister may provide guidelines in this respect.

1980 c3 s17

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Statement received

18. (1) Upon receiving the environmental impact statement, the minister

(a) shall direct that copies of the environmental impact statement be made available to all interested persons; and

(b) shall examine the statement to determine whether it adheres to the previously agreed terms of reference.

(2) The minister shall advise the proponent in writing whether the environmental impact statement, as submitted, is acceptable in accordance with this Act and the regulations.

1980 c3 s18

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Statement deficient

19. Where the environmental impact statement is deficient, the minister may require the proponent

(a) to conduct further work;

(b) to amend the environmental impact statement accordingly; and

(c) to resubmit the environmental impact statement by a later mutually agreeable deadline under section 18.

1980 c3 s19

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Statement acceptable

20. Where the minister has determined that an environmental impact statement is acceptable, he or she shall deliver copies of that statement to the Lieutenant-Governor in Council.

1980 c3 s20

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Consultation

21. The minister shall, in the course of his deliberations under sections 7, 9, 10, 11, 12, 14, 18 and 20, make every reasonable effort to consult with and obtain the opinions of all other ministers of the Crown whose departments may have an interest in an undertaking that may be subject to an environmental assessment.

1980 c3 s21

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Assessment committees

22. (1) Where an undertaking requires or may require an environmental assessment, the minister shall appoint an assessment committee for the purpose of advising him or her on scientific and technical matters related to the undertaking.

(2) The minister shall appoint to each committee at least 1 representative from each department of government that has an interest in the undertaking.

(3) The chairperson of each committee shall be an employee of the department.

(4) Members of each committee shall be paid the expenses that may be prescribed by the regulations.

(5) The minister shall determine the term of office of each member and the chairperson of each committee.

(6) A committee may provide the consultation and assistance necessary for the purposes of section 21.

1980 c3 s22

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Public interest

23. (1) At any time during an environmental assessment of a proposed undertaking, the minister may invite written comments from interested persons concerning the environmental impact of an undertaking.

(2) The minister may forward the written comments under subsection (1) to the proponent who shall answer pertinent questions posed by persons during the preparation of the environmental impact statement.

1980 c3 s23

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Board

24. Where the minister receives indication of strong public interest in an undertaking that is subject to environmental assessment, the Lieutenant-Governor in Council may, on the advice of the minister, appoint an environmental assessment board for the purpose of conducting public hearings relating to the environmental assessment of an undertaking under this Act.

1980 c3 s24

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Membership of board

25. (1) The Lieutenant-Governor in Council shall appoint to each board not less than 2 nor more than 5 persons.

(2) A person appointed under subsection (1) shall not be employed in the public service of the province or the public service of Canada.

1980 c3 s25

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Chairperson

26. The Lieutenant-Governor in Council shall designate from among the members of each board a chairperson who shall not be a resident of the geographical area of the proposed undertaking.

1980 c3 s26

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Resident of area

27. One-third of the members of each board shall be resident of the geographical area of a proposed undertaking.

1980 c3 s27

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Expenses

28. Members of each board shall be paid the remuneration and expenses that may be prescribed by the regulations.

1980 c3 s28

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Public hearing

29. (1) A public hearing ordered under section 24 shall be conducted for the purposes of

(a) examining the contents of an environmental impact statement that has been prepared for a proposed undertaking; and

(b) exchanging information between the proponent and the public.

(2) A public hearing ordered under subsection (1) shall be held within or adjacent to the geographical area of a proposed undertaking and wherever the minister considers appropriate.

(3) The minister and the proponent shall be represented at a public hearing of a board.

(4) A board at a public hearing ordered under subsection (1) shall

(a) record public comments and questions regarding the content of the environmental impact statement prepared for an undertaking; and

(b) provide, where possible, answers to public questions.

(5) The procedure for a public hearing of a board may be prescribed by the regulations.

1980 c3 s29

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Report of hearing

30. The chairperson of a board shall, within the period prescribed by the regulations, submit to the minister a written report containing

(a) the proceedings of a public hearing;

(b) recommendations made at a public hearing; and

(c) recommendations of the board.

1980 c3 s30

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Report sent to minister

31. (1) Upon receiving the report of a public hearing of a board under section 30, the minister shall deliver copies to the Lieutenant-Governor in Council.

(2) The minister shall, within 30 days of the receipt of the report, make a copy of the report of a public hearing available to interested persons.

(3) The manner of the public distribution referred to in subsection (2) shall be decided by the minister.

1980 c3 s31

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Recommendation

32. Where an environmental impact statement has been completed and is acceptable to the minister under this Act and the regulations, the minister shall recommend to the Lieutenant-Governor in Council that a proposed undertaking

(a) be permitted to proceed, subject to terms and conditions that the Lieutenant-Governor in Council, upon the recommendation of the minister, may order; or

(b) not be permitted to proceed.

1980 c3 s32

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Authorization

33. (1) A licence, permit, approval or other document of authorization issued under another Act or regulation pertaining to an undertaking shall not be issued until

(a) the minister decides that an environmental impact statement is not required; or

(b) where the minister decides that an environmental impact statement is required, the following conditions are met:

(i) an environmental impact statement is submitted to the minister and accepted as satisfactory,

(ii) the environmental impact statement is made available to the public,

(iii) public hearings by a board are held, where considered necessary by the minister,

(iv) the minister delivers to the Lieutenant-Governor in Council copies of an environmental impact statement and a report and the recommendations on the public hearings by a board,

(v) the report and the recommendations on the public hearings are made available to the public, and

(vi) the minister makes recommendations to the Lieutenant-Governor in Council as required by section 32.

(2) This Act does not exempt a proponent of an undertaking, whether or not the proponent has submitted an environmental impact statement, from the requirements imposed upon an undertaking by another Act or regulation.

1980 c3 s33

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Monitoring

34. Where approval for an undertaking has been given to a proponent under this Act, the minister may require the proponent to carry out environmental monitoring and rehabilitation studies and programs in order to determine the effectiveness of mitigation measures and to restore the affected environment to ecologically and socially acceptable levels.

1983 c51 s2

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Liability

35. (1) An officer or employee of the department or a member of a board or a committee is not personally liable for anything done or omitted to be done by him or her in the performance of his or her duties under this Act or the regulations.

(2) Notwithstanding subsection 5(4) of the Proceedings Against the Crown Act, the liability of the Crown in respect of anything done or omitted to be done by an officer in the performance of his or her duties under this Act or the regulations is the same as if subsection (1) were not in force.

1980 c3 s34

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Service

36. A notice, order, approval or other document under this Act or the regulations is sufficiently given or served where delivered personally or sent by registered mail addressed to the person to whom delivery or service is to be made at the latest address appearing on the records of the department.

1980 c3 s35

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Exemption

37. (1) Where the minister is of the opinion that it is in the public interest, having regard to the purpose of this Act and weighing the purpose of this Act against the injury, damage or interference that might be caused a person or property by the application of this Act to an undertaking, the minister, with the approval of the Lieutenant-Governor in Council, may by order

(a) exempt an undertaking or a proponent of an undertaking from the application of this Act or the regulations or a matter provided for in this Act or the regulations, subject to those terms and conditions that the minister may impose;

(b) suspend or revoke an exemption referred to in paragraph (a); or

(c) alter or revoke a term or condition of an exemption referred to in paragraph (a).

(2) Where the minister is of the opinion that the disclosure of certain documents or matters is not in the public interest, the minister may make the provision for the protection of the public interest that he or she considers necessary and may decline to disclose those documents or matters.

1980 c3 s36

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Regulations

38. The Lieutenant-Governor in Council may make regulations

(a) prescribing guidelines for the preparation of environmental preview reports and environmental impact statements;

(b) prescribing additional information that shall be contained in environmental preview reports, environmental impact statements and draft terms of reference under section 13 submitted to the minister;

(c) prescribing forms for the purpose of this Act and providing for their use;

(d) establishing criteria for the examination of proposed undertakings in order to determine whether an environmental assessment is required;

(e) prescribing periods of time in which the minister and other persons shall perform duties required under this Act;

(f) further defining the functions and qualifications of persons for appointment as members of a board or a committee;

(g) providing for the payment by the province to members of a board or a committee of remuneration and expenses;

(h) prescribing the procedures by which the general public is to be directly involved in environmental assessments, and specifically prescribing the manner in which the proponent or his or her agent is to meet with, provide information to, and record the opinions, concerns and questions of, interested persons residing in or near the geographical area in which the undertaking under assessment is proposed;

(i) prescribing the procedures for matters related to public hearings of a board as provided for under this Act;

(j) exempting a person, class of persons, undertaking or class of undertakings from the provisions of this Act;

(k) designating an undertaking or class of undertakings as undertakings or classes of undertakings to which this Act applies, notwithstanding an exemption under paragraph (j);

(l) providing for the requirements, design and implementation of environmental monitoring and rehabilitation programs; and

(m) generally, to give effect to the purpose of this Act.

1980 c3 s37; 1983 c51 s3

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Penalty

39. A person who contravenes a provision of this Act or the regulations is guilty of an offence and liable on summary conviction

(a) for a 1st offence, to a fine not exceeding $5,000 and, in default of payment, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months, or to both a fine and imprisonment;

(b) for a 2nd or subsequent offence, to a fine not exceeding $10,000 and, in default of payment, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 12 months, or to both a fine and imprisonment,

and each and every continuance for a day or part of a day of the contravention constitutes a separate offence.

1980 c3 s38

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Offence

40. It is an offence to knowingly give false information in a document or statement made to the minister, a board, a committee or an employee of the public service in respect of a matter under this Act or the regulations.

1980 c3 s39

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