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B.C. Park Amendment Act under fire from environmentalists

Environmentalists are planning protests against new legislation they say threatens to open parks and protected areas up for pipelines and other industrial projects.

Critics say changes only benefit corporations, 167,000 name petition unfurled in Vancouver

Environmentalists are planning protests in parks across B.C. this weekend to mark opposition to the Park Amendment Act, which they say opens parks to development. (CBC)

Environmentalists are planning protests against new legislation they say threatens to open up parks and protected areas to pipelines and other industrial projects. 

In Vancouver Friday, they unfurled a 167,000 name petition calling on the provincial government to repeal the Park Amendment Act, which was passed into law in May.

Environmentalists unfurl a petition calling on the provincial government to amend legislation they say opens up parks to resource development. (CBC)

The Act allows for research in provincial parks, but many fear that could lead to mining, logging, or even pipelines.

Joe Foy of the Wilderness Committee says the changes will only benefit corporations, some of which are already planning projects. 

"You've got a logging company demanding to be able to put logging trucks through the park, right past the campgrounds and the picnic grounds," said Foy.

Environment Minister Mary Polak says critics are simply misunderstanding the act.

"Industrial development is not and won't be allowed in BC's parks," she promised.

When it introduced the legislation, the government said it would make it easier for researchers to conduct scientific studies and for the film industry to use parks in B.C. as backdrops.

But environmentalists aren't buying it. Protests are planned in a number of provincial parks tomorrow to mark Canada Parks Day.

With files from CBC's Luke Brocki

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