Feds backing off oilsands assessment?
OTTAWA - The federal government appears to be backing away from any role in assessing the environmental impact of new oilsands projects.
A list of the types of projects that will require a federal environmental assessment has been released and it does not include any in-situ oilsands mines.
Expansions to open pit mines will still be reviewed.
But 80 per cent of the resource can only be recovered using in-situ methods and that's how most new development is expected to proceed.
Those methods soften the bitumen underground and pump it to the surface with no giant open pit.
The techniques are in some ways more environmentally friendly, but most release more greenhouse gases per barrel of oil.
In situ-oilsands mines will still come under a provincial review.