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Environmental impact assessment : a comparative study of the effect of federal institutional arrangements upon environmental impact assessment procedures in Canada and the United States McCallum, Sandra Kathleen


This paper examines the effect of institutional arrangements upon environmental impact assessment procedures. The short introduction discusses the need for a planning tool in the nature of an environmental impact assessment which focuses upon environmental considerations at the earliest stage of the decision process. Chapter I analyses some of the procedures suggested for implementing an assessment procedure highlighting the strengths and weaknesses of each. It is recognized that because many questions of social choice are involved the need for a broadened decision base incorporating public input into each stage of the process is desirable. The basic problem of any procedure is identified as one of enforceability. Chapter II examines the Canadian proposal which was announced in the House of Commons early in 1974. The weaknesses of the proposal are discussed within the context of the political system. Chapter III discusses the impact of the National Environmental Policy Act in the United States. Much of the success of this legislation is attributed to the role of the courts as enforcers of the legislation and clarification of the goals of Congress. Chapter IV discusses the differences between the Canadian and United States governmental structure which make the wholesale transfer of legislation in the form of the United States Act inappropriate. The procedural and doctrinal distinctions are discussed. Finally the issues which a Canadian legislature will need to address in order to implement legislation which will be as effective as the United States model are identified.

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