Controversial environment-review bill faces major changes in Senate as clock ticks

There are just five sitting weeks left for the Senate to pass the bill

Pro-pipline supporters rally outside a public hearing of the Senate Committee on Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources regarding Bill C-69 in Calgary, Alta., Tuesday, April 9, 2019. Canadian senators are trying to make more than 100 amendments to the government’s environmental assessment bill that overhauls how major energy and transportation projects are reviewed.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

Pro-pipline supporters rally outside a public hearing of the Senate Committee on Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources regarding Bill C-69 in Calgary, Alta., Tuesday, April 9, 2019. Canadian senators are trying to make more than 100 amendments to the government’s environmental assessment bill that overhauls how major energy and transportation projects are reviewed.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

Canadian senators are trying to make more than 100 amendments to the government’s environmental-assessment bill that overhauls how major energy and transportation projects are reviewed.

The Liberals want Bill C-69 to fulfil a 2015 election promise to update a review process they say has meant more work for lawyers than for energy workers.

READ MORE: Canada’s failure to fight climate change ‘disturbing,’ environment watchdog says

Provincial premiers, energy-industry leaders and the federal Conservatives all accuse the government of making a troubled process even more political.

Last week Alberta Premier Jason Kenney said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is risking national unity over the bill.

Conservative and independent senators have introduced dozens of amendments, proposing to put some limits on who can be heard during a review and trying to limit the cabinet’s power to interfere with the process.

There are just five sitting weeks left for the Senate to pass the bill so the House of Commons can consider the amendments, and during a three-hour meeting this morning, the committee made it through just 20 pages of the 392-page bill.

The Canadian Press

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