Feds decline to give special designation to peat moss land

The federal government has responded to a bid to have the proposed Lambert Peat Moss peat harvesting operation, which would involve four areas, totalling 2,619 hectares of land, south of La Ronge place under the federal Impact Assessment Act.

“The project does not warrant the designation,” according to a federal government release, Minister’s Response, dated March 2.

For Peat Sake: Protecting northern Saskatchewan Muskegs, a group of concerned people formed in 2020. The started the petition in January 2022 to have the area placed under the Act.

In his response, Steven Guilbeault, Canada’s Minister of Environment and Climate Change, is quoted as saying is quoted as saying he’s “of the opinion that the designation of the project is unwarranted.”

The Minister’s reasons focused on the legislation that covers the concerns raised in the Petition. That includes the provincial assessment process under Saskatchewan, The Environmental Assessment Act, which includes consideration of environmental effects, including effects of the boreal population of caribou, impacts on Indigenous rights and “if approved, can include terms and conditions to mitigate potential environmental effects for all stages of the development,” reads the Minister’s letter.

Other provincial legislation applicable includes The Fisheries Act (Saskatchewan), The Environmental Management and Protection Act, 2010 and The Heritage Property Act.

Federal authorizations, approvals and reporting that could be required come under the Fisheries Act; Canadian Navigable Waters Act: Species at Risk Act: Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994; and Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999.

 “The project must be carried out in compliance with provincial and federal legislation,” quoted from the Minister’s Letter.

As The Northern Advocate goes to press, responses to Minister Guibeault’s decision were being prepared.

The Northern Advocate will carry more on this story in coming months.