Press Release: New environmental regulatory approach leaves greenhouse gas management on back burner

Saskatchewan Environmental Society
Monday, November 3, 2014
For immediate release

New environmental regulatory approach leaves greenhouse gas management on the back burner

This morning the Government of Saskatchewan announced the proclamation of the new Environmental Management and Protection Act (2010) and the amended Forest Resources Management Act, along with certain sections of the new Environmental Code that will serve in lieu of regulations under these acts.

Conspicuously missing in today’s announcement is any reference to the Management and Reduction of Greenhouse Gases Act, which still awaits proclamation four years after passing third reading in the Legislature. This Act, although relatively weak, would at least get Saskatchewan started on the urgent task of controlling our province’s embarrassingly high per capita emissions, now sitting at three and one half times the Canadian average. Yet the Environmental Code sections that relate to greenhouse gas emissions are still unwritten, and the Ministry of Environment is unable to give any indication of when the Act will be proclaimed.

This delay and the lack of government leadership in tackling climate change is more than unfortunate – it is irresponsible and unfair. Climate change is the greatest environmental challenge of our generation. World-wide, people are increasingly facing chaotic weather events, flooding and droughts, creating loss of productive land, destruction of residential areas and shrinking biodiversity. Every year of delay makes the cost of action greater and shifts the burden further onto the lives of our children and grandchildren. Saskatchewan must do better.

A clear plan for management and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions should become a top priority for our provincial government. Proclamation of the Act and release of associated Code wording would give a signal that Saskatchewan intends to take some first steps towards responsible action.