Government System of Land-Use Planning Threatens Ability to Protect Environment

New law needed to integrate management of impacts to land, air and water resources

Calgary, April 16, 2008 - The Government of Alberta cannot effectively manage the growing impacts of development on Alberta's natural resources without a new law that considers cumulative impacts and provides tools to manage growth effectively, concludes a report released today by the Pembina Institute and Water Matters.

"The Government of Alberta enters its new term of office with important unfinished business to reform Alberta's management of land and natural resources," says Danielle Droitsch, Executive Director of Water Matters. "New legislation will be needed to manage the impacts of rapid growth and to ensure government departments work together effectively to set targets, implement plans and make decisions that protect our environment. Band-aid solutions aren't enough. Our land uses are taking a toll on our water resources."

"The Alberta government currently lacks the tools to manage cumulative environmental impacts because it is operating in a policy and planning vacuum," says Steve Kennett, Senior Policy Analyst with the Pembina Institute. The situation is exacerbated by departments that make decisions about policy, individual projects and activities in isolation, leading to conflict with other departments and objectives. The government's strategic initiatives and decision-making processes must be better integrated."

The report, Curing Environmental Dis-Integration: A Prescription for Integrating the Government of Alberta's Strategic Initiatives, discusses how the government has advanced numerous strategic initiatives in relative isolation from one another. These initiatives include the Land-Use Framework, the renewal of Water for Life, the proposed regulatory framework for Cumulative Effects Management, and the plans for a new Clean Air Strategy and a Comprehensive Energy Strategy. The report concludes that multiple strategies that individually address air, land, water and the activities that affect them will ultimately prove unsuccessful unless they are integrated through a common, legislated regional planning process.

"A system designed for yesterday's problems is no longer adequate to meet the needs of Albertans today," says Droitsch. "Albertans are counting on the government to take decisive action to catch up to and address the complex challenges we face. That means changing how it approaches future land-use decisions that affect our natural capital."


For more information:

Curing Environmental Dis-Integration: A Prescription for Integrating the Government of Alberta's Strategic Initiatives can be downloaded from or

Alberta by Design: Blueprint for an Effective Land-Use Framework and Alberta by Design Checklist: Evaluating Alberta's Land-Use Framework can be downloaded from or

Steve Kennett, The Pembina Institute (Calgary)
403-269-3344 ext. 115
[email protected]

Danielle Droitsch, Water Matters
[email protected]