Canadian Government wants new Detroit bridge exempt from environmental protection laws

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There are reports that the Canadian government is passing legislation that would exempt a new Windsor-Detroit bridge from a slew of environmental laws. This legislation would ultimately shield the project from any legal action that U.S. opponents might launch.

In June, Prime Minister Stephen Harper signed a deal with Michigan to build a second bridge through one of Canada’s most important trade routes. But the American operator of the existing Ambassador bridge between Windsor, Ontario and Detroit fiercely opposes the plan.

Manuel (Matty) Moroun is chief executive officer of the private company that owns the bridge. According to the Globe and Mail, Moroun has said that a second one is not needed right now because traffic volumes on his span are down 40 per cent from before the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

There are reports that the Canadian government anticipates Moroun or his allies would launch legal action in Canada challenging environmental approvals for the new international crossing.

Last Thursday, the ruling Conservatives introduced new legislation that states the Fisheries Act, the Navigable Waters Protection Act, the Species at Risk Act and big parts of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act “do not apply to the construction of the bridge, parkway or any related work.”

The Globe and Mail quotes Transport Canada department spokesman Mark Butler: “This legislation will ensure that the project will not be subjected to lawsuits on the Canadian side related to the issuance of regulatory permits or approvals and that the project will be constructed without delay or stoppage.”

The newspaper reports that the Tories insist that companies building the bridge and related interchanges will be expected to comply with “the intent of all federal laws pertaining to environmental protection” and file action plans to the relevant Conservative ministers.

The Globe and Mail goes on to report that a new bridge is expected to cost nearly $1-billion and will be privately financed by the company that builds it. Both countries, however, must put in place customs plazas, ramps and connecting roads. This infrastructure will reportedly cost about $2.5-billion. Canada has been so eager for the bridge to be built that it has agreed to pay Michigan’s $550-million share of new bridge-related infrastructure costs. This money will later be recouped from toll revenue.

But as of now, it looks like Moroun and his company remain the biggest obstacles to building this second bridge.

2 thoughts on “Canadian Government wants new Detroit bridge exempt from environmental protection laws”

  1. Drive through Delray and see what 10000 trucks and 7000 cars a day dumping down fort street for an additional 6 years past the agreed upon 2 years that Maroun agreed to. Delray is destroyed as if by design. Drive through Delray Matty you can be proud of your destruction. Do you wring your hands and jump with joy as you destroy the very fabric of a community and rob the people of their quality of life just so you and yours can live better. Well you are 84 headed for what. To be the most hated family in the history of Detroit. Good job you succeeded.
    The NITC project is not the solution to fix Michigan’s economy but it is a piece to the puzzle. The train tunnel under the river for double stacked trains is another piece. Both of these pieces are in jeopardy if proposal 6 passes. An air freight hub at willow run is another piece. A world class deep water port on the Detroit river. All of the industry in Michigan which if you don’t know is a peninsula might as well be an island with our industrial products subject to if we can move them into a world market. The ports are not located in Detroit they are on the east cost and the west coast. The responsibility of government is to give our state the ability to compete in a global market and keep our state prosperous. Proposal 6 has the potential of destroying the economy of Michigan as it will forever restrict the state from providing the infrastructure required to allow our people to compete globally. November 6th we as a state are making a decision which we will be forced to live with forever with the consequences of which will forever subject the people of this state to the whims of the most litigious lawsuit slinging slum lord that has destroyed every community he has invested in through blockbusting and attrition.
    I am certain this family will jump with glee when all the industry is driven from Michigan to the Buffalo corridor and he can justify building the bridge he is trying to build there. Too bad Michigan, how stupid we will look if we allow this to happen. Look it up (Ambassador Niagara) on hold until Michigan destroys itself with proposal 6.
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