Knowledge is Power
Many parties believe that the Environmental Impact Assessment was inadequate and deeply flawed, and that a comprehensive Health Impact Assessment (HIA) by an independent third party must be conducted. It is important that this HIA meet recognized internationally accepted standards, otherwise we may end up with another flawed assessment. Some things to consider:
- The assessment must be INDEPENDENT. Port Metro Vancouver must work with our Medical Health Officers and Regional Governments to chose an appropriate consultant.
- The assessment must be COMPREHENSIVE. It must consider
- impacts from transport of coal by rail
- impacts from transport of coal by barge
- impacts on the Strait of Georgia and Texada Island
- cumulative impacts from all coal export expansion proposals, including Neptune and Westshore Terminals.
- The assessment must be TRANSPARENT. The terms of reference, scope and supporting documents must all be made available in a timely fashion.
- The assessment must be DEMOCRATIC. Our Medical Health Officers, local and regional governments and the public must all be allowed to contribute in a meaningful way.
Minimum Elements of HIA
A Health Impact Assessment (HIA) must include the following minimum elements, which together distinguish HIA from other processes. An HIA:
- Is initiated to inform a decision-making process, and conducted in advance of a policy, plan, program, or project decision;
- Utilizes a systematic analytic process with the following characteristics:
- 2.1. Includes a scoping phase that comprehensively considers potential impacts on health outcomes as well as on social, environmental, and economic health determinants, and selects potentially significant issues for impact analysis;
- 2.2. Solicits and utilizes input from stakeholders;
- 2.3. Establishes baseline conditions for health, describing health outcomes, health determinants, affected populations, and vulnerable sub-populations;
- 2.4. Uses the best available evidence to judge the magnitude, likelihood, distribution, and permanence of potential impacts on human health or health determinants;
- 2.5. Rests conclusions and recommendations on a transparent and context-specific synthesis of evidence, acknowledging sources of data, methodological assumptions, strengths and limitations of evidence and uncertainties;
- Identifies appropriate recommendations, mitigations and/or design alternatives to protect and promote health;
- Proposes a monitoring plan for tracking the decisionʼs implementation on health impacts/determinants of concern;
- Includes transparent, publicly-accessible documentation of the process, methods, findings, sponsors, funding sources, participants and their respective roles.
Key Questions to be answered in comprehensive health and environmental impact assessments of coal export expansion – Dr. Frank James, Medical Health Officer, San Juan County WA
To see which local and regional governments have called for the comprehensive and transparent assessment of coal export risks, go here.
To find out what you can do, click here.