A proposed secondary route to Sun Peaks Resort and major wharf at Salmon Arm are among projects that will no longer need a federal environmental review under laws recently passed by the Conservative government.
Legislation was passed last month that freed hundreds of projects in B.C. and across Canada from review by the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency.
A list published by the agency shows projects in the Interior including a proposed secondary route from the Chase area to Sun Peaks Resort, Spences Bridge water system improvements and a run-of-the-river hydro project southwest of Lytton.
Those projects will now either be handed to the province for review or escape it entirely if they fall below requirements set by the B.C. Liberal government.
Another project that won't require a screening by the federal agency is a proposed 172-slip marina proposal for Salmon Arm, along with gravel extraction in Lillooet River.
Brian Heise, chair of Thompson Rivers University's natural resource science department, said the most worrisome projects no longer reviewed are those involving habitat and fish.
"It's (gravel extraction on a river) an excellent example of where you want oversight," Heise said.
"We're getting it on multiple fronts. It's piggybacked on gutting of fisheries legislationů. You can't have fish without habitat."
Kamloops MP Cathy McLeod said she hasn't seen a list of projects for her region that were dropped from review. Assessment for the proposed road, now no longer on the public agenda, was triggered when various agencies and corporations applied for funding under economic stimulus after the 2008 recession.
She defended the new laws intended to make projects easier and cut government red tape.
"There are supports and processes in place that deal with environmental issues, especially with the province."
Many of the local projects involve small utilities by municipalities or Indian bands. McLeod said when she was a mayor in Pemberton years ago "I can remember time after time saying "we need to fix this process."
A joint review by the federal and provincial governments of the proposed Ajax Mine in Kamloops is unaffected by the legislation because it was undertaken under earlier rules.
While Heise said there may be justification for relaxing oversight on some small projects - one of those that will no longer be screened is a fire hall on Indian reserve land - he believes the federal government has gone too far and damage won't be seen for years.
"We need oil and gas but we have to build in the cost of environmental protection."