December 20, 2012
Today the ELC announced the release of Maintaining Natural BC for Our Children: Selected Law Reform Proposals. This book is a series of 35 short, readable articles punctuated by photos and cartoons – that describe key environmental law reforms the next provincial government should consider. Peace Valley residents fear lethal sour gas escapes that have taken place and call for tougher regulations on the oil and gas industry. Comox Valley residents are concerned that new mines threaten their drinking water and ask why the law leaves taxpayers with the bill for mine clean ups. Both environmentalists and forestry workers question the short-sighted laws that threaten long-term forestry jobs and the environment. Archaic water laws contribute to water shortages that threaten jobs and fish on Vancouver Island and elsewhere. More than 1,600 species are now at risk in BC — yet BC and Alberta are the only provinces without a dedicated law to protect such species. And inadequate laws on urban sprawl threaten the Natural BC that attracted us here in the first place. The stakes are high. Yet current laws have not only failed to keep pace with our booming resource industries and population growth — our laws are actually weaker than they were a few years ago. The articles in this book aim to remedy this by recommending specific changes to BC environmental laws. This book is put forward as an educational service to inform the public, government and decision makers about solutions that have been proposed by environmental law experts. Their recommendations are presented for public education, debate and consideration — and to trigger law reform ideas from others. Ultimately, we hope that this book will enrich the discussion about how laws can be changed to better maintain Natural British Columbia for our children.
Calvin Sandborn, ELC Legal Director