A Sudbury hydro-electric dam project will no longer be subject to a federal environmental assessment.

This has community groups concerned they won't be able to access the information they say they need to defend the Vermilion River.

"[The] Canadian Environmental Assessment Act has an environmental registry where all documents are available to the public, so we've been able to access a lot of information through there. That will be gone now," said Linda Heron, a spokesperson with The Vermilion River Stewardship group, one of the organizations concerned with Xeneca Power Development's dam project.

The company received notification last week that the project — which involves building four dams along the river — would no longer be subject to a federal environmental assessment because of new standards put in place by the federal budget.

Heron noted that, in the past, she has not been successful at getting information at the provincial level.

mi-mark-holmes-300

Xeneca Power Development's Mark Holmes said the federal environmental assessment was unnecessary. (Hilary Duff/CBC)

But Xeneca’s Mark Holmes said the federal environmental assessment was unnecessary.

"I think the exercise is intended to streamline [the] process, make it more efficient [and] remove some duplicate processes that are in place," he said.

Holmes noted the removal of the federal assessment will not speed up the timeline of the project.