Environmentalists are worried about the large number of highway projects that could benefit from acceleration measures thanks to the new Bill 66, the study of which is due to begin shortly.
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The Quebec Environmental Law Center (CQDE), Équiterre, the David Suzuki Foundation, Greenpeace, the National Group of Regional Environmental Councils (RNCREQ) and the Vivre en Ville organization fear that they will benefit from a pass rights in order to circumvent the environmental rules in place.
Several highway projects are among those retained by Bill 66 to benefit from acceleration measures, they argue. This is the case, in particular, for the extension of Autoroute 25 in Lanaudière, the construction of Autoroute 19 between Laval and Bois-des-Filion, the extension of Autoroute 73 in Chaudière-Appalaches and the construction from highway 35 in Montérégie.
Thus, the environmental impact assessment and review procedure would be streamlined to reduce the environmental consequences taken into account in their designs. In addition, two projects would be completely exempt from the environmental impact assessment and review procedure, also underlines the grouping, including the project to widen Highway 30 between Brossard and Boucherville.
However, according to the group, no highway project should be the subject of acceleration measures that would be at the expense of the quality of their environmental assessment.
“Bill 66 thumbs its nose at the environmental authorization system by not taking into account the high risks to the environment posed by projects to expand, build or widen highways. In light of current environmental issues, this is unacceptable and can set a dangerous precedent, ”said the director general of the Quebec Environmental Law Center, Geneviève Paul, in a joint press release released on Thursday.
According to Équiterre’s general manager, Colleen Thorpe, the increase in highway capacity is not part of “the prospect of a revival of the 21st century”.