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One project, one environmental assessment: Doer

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OTTAWA - Manitoba Premier Gary Doer thinks the provinces are the best equipped to do the environmental assessment of infrastructure projects as long as they don't cross international boundaries.

Doer made the comment on his way in to the first of a series of first ministers in the nation's capital this afternoon where he is expected to push hard to get the red-tape laden process for approving new projects reduced to a "one project, one assessment" model.

Doer says it is against the public interest to have multiple environmental assessments from different levels of government for the same project.

It adds years to the timing of projects and millions of dollars in extra costs.

Infrastructure will be a major component of the talks in Ottawa with Prime Minister Stephen Harper, the premiers and the nations aboriginal leaders. Fast-tracking existing pots of money for new roads, bridges and other projects is a mainstay of plans to stimulate the economy.

Doer's plan for infrastructure was supported by Quebec Premier Jean Charest, who complained Ottawa is spending far less on infrastructure in Quebec than it should be.

The premiers meet themselves this afternoon, with Harper and aboriignal leaders tonight and with Harper alone tomorrow.

Mia.rabson@freepress.mb.ca

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