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ELC on Environmental Bill of Rights and proposed Wastewater Regulations

The Environmental Law Centre posts on a couple of recent developments. Adam Driedzic posts on Bill C-469: An Act to establish a Canadian Environmental Bill of Rights, which recently passed second reading in the House of Commons.

Laura Bowman comments on proposed wastewater regulations under the Fisheries Act.

There is no assurance from regulators that public health and the environment will be adequately protected while municipalities take 10-30 years to comply.  These timelines are not consistent with those ordered by the courts on the rare occasions when municipalities have been charged and convicted.

The lowdown on Alberta's Wetlands Policy

Water Matters posts a quick look at and a fact sheet on the leaked Draft Wetlands Policy for Alberta.

Imagine wetlands as a savings account for Albertans that stores carbon and pays compound interest by storing, purifying, and filtering water. According to a leaked draft obtained by the Sierra Club, Albertans may lose the benefits of maintaining wetlands because under the Government of Alberta's draft wetlands policy, Albertans not industry would pay the cost of restoring wetlands.

New federal climate plan admits minimal action on emissions

Matthew Bramley, Climate Change Director of the Pembina Institute, critiques Environment Canada's recently released annual Climate Change Plan:

Sadly, this report confirms that the Harper government is neither implementing nor planning to implement any policies to substantially reduce Canada's greenhouse gas pollution. In the face of urgent calls for action coming from the world's most authoritative scientific bodies and ambitious policies in some of Canada's peer countries, this shows an astonishing failure to grasp what's at stake.

Bill C-311 the Climate Change Accountability Act: action or aspiration?

The Environmental Law Centre's Laura Bowman writes that the Climate Change Accountability Act suffers from some of the same "problematic legal issues" that led to the failure of the earlier Kyoto Protocol Implementation Act. In the case of Friends of the Earth v. Canada, (2008 FC 1183, (T.D.) appeal dismissed 2009 FCA 297) a Federal Court found that the earlier act, unenforceable and, in Bowman's words, "too general in nature to have the true force of law". Bowman argues that:

Parliamentarians and activists need to be bolder in addressing climate change, by putting forward specific measures instead of emission targets without any means of achieving them.

And that:

Bill C-311, riding on a wave of political apathy, represents a failure to take risks on real measures.  Targets are the ends, but legislators need to be prepared to provide the means, and soon.

 

Are Greenpeace's stunts outrageous or essential?

The Alberta Environment Network consists of a wide variety of environmental non-governmental organizations — from large national organizations to small grassroots groups. AEN members employ a variety of tactics to achieve their environmental goals. Amongst the most controversial, are the direct action and civil disobedience tactics employed by Greenpeace in their oil sands campaign.

David Berry's piece in Alberta Views — The Disobedient Albertans — examines Greenpeace's tactics in Alberta, including the perspectives of a couple other AEN member groups.

Harper plays wallflower on climate

The Pembina Institute's Clare Demerse writes about the Harper government's goal to "harmonize" our climate policy with that of the United States; and compares Canada's climate policy to a character from a romantic comedy — "the girl so afraid of being alone that she'll settle for anyone."

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