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The 2012 Fall Report of Scott Vaughan, federal Commissioner of the Environment and of Sustainable Development, was tabled today at 10:00 a.m. in the House of Commons. This Report focusses on the gaps between federal programs to promote resource development, and the environmental threats posed by those developments:

Atlantic Offshore Oil and Gas Activities

More needs to be done to prepare for a major offshore oil spill 

Financial Assurances for Environmental Risks

Financial assurances may not cover environmental costs 

“The federal government needs to review its absolute liability limits in the nuclear and offshore oil and gas sectors,” said Mr. Vaughan.

The audit found that absolute liability limits for nuclear facilities such as power-generating stations have not changed in 35 years while those covering offshore oil and gas development have not been updated in more than 20 years. Absolute liability limits are also much lower in Canada than in other countries: for example, while Canada’s nuclear liability limit is $75 million, the US limit is over $12 billion…

Marine Protected Areas

Canada has made limited progress in protecting marine biodiversity

A Study of Federal Support to the Fossil Fuel Sector

Canada has taken positive steps to reduce federal subsidies for fossil fuels

Environmental Petitions

Commissioner follows up on petitions and shale gas production

The Commissioner’s Perspective

Commissioner concerned that resource boom is outpacing environmental safeguards

“There are 200,000 hydraulic fracturing wells in Canada, and that number is expected to double over the next 20 years,” said Mr. Vaughan. “With the oil and gas sector exempted from reporting pollutant releases, the government cannot know if Canadians are adequately protected.”

The report is available on the Office of the Auditor General of Canada web site.

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