Sept. 17, 2009
ST. JOHN'S, N.L. (CNB) - Environment ministers from Atlantic Canada met in St. John's, N.L., on Wednesday to discuss regional approaches and co-operation on a number of environmental issues. They met under the auspices of the Council of Atlantic Environment Ministers.
The meeting was attended by Environment Minister Rick Miles; Charlene Johnson, minister of environment and conservation, Newfoundland and Labrador; Sterling Belliveau, minister of environment, Nova Scotia; and Richard Brown, minister of environment, energy and forestry, Prince Edward Island.
"I was pleased to meet with my colleagues in St. John's to discuss environmental issues facing our provinces," said Miles. "My colleagues and I are committed to working together to ensure that Atlantic Canada has an environmentally sustainable future."
Officials from the New Brunswick Department of Environment made a presentation on the province's new pesticides strategy for lawn care, announced last spring. The ministers agreed to establish a regional committee of officials to discuss the current practices in each of the Atlantic provinces regarding pesticides. The committee was asked to bring forward opportunities for co-operation by the spring of 2010.
The ministers also looked ahead to the climate change meetings to be held in Copenhagen, Denmark, in December. They discussed the importance of their continued efforts to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and to present a unified Atlantic perspective.
The ministers welcome the opportunity to have additional discussions with federal Minister Jim Prentice prior to the Copenhagen meetings. They want to ensure GHG reduction initiatives, such as clean energy and related technology and infrastructure, will be eligible for carbon credits. They also want each province be treated equitably under the federal GHG regulatory framework, including the proposed Climate Change Technology Fund.
Further discussions on GHG reductions resulted in the ministers' decision to call upon the federal government to extend funding for the EcoAction Trust Fund for Clean Air and Climate Change beyond its 2010 deadline. The federal government established the trust fund, and it has provided funding over three years to support projects that reduce GHG emissions.
The ministers agreed that each of their jurisdictions has benefited from this support and has helped implement meaningful and sustainable measures to reduce emissions.
"The $34-million New Brunswick Climate Action Fund was established from New Brunswick's portion of the federal trust fund," said Miles. "The New Brunswick action fund is a valuable tool used for supporting public-sector, private-sector and not-for-profit initiatives that will result in reductions or avoidance of greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution throughout the province."
The ministers agreed that waste management initiatives are well underway in Atlantic Canada. They recognized, however, that other opportunities exist to further manage and reduce waste in the region.
They looked at various waste management opportunities, including electronic waste (e-waste) and used tire management. Nova Scotia and New Brunswick extended invitations to their Atlantic counterparts to visit the Nova Scotia e-waste facility and the New Brunswick tire recycling facility in order to build upon their success in these areas. They focused on extended producer responsibility as an effective measure for waste reduction in the region. The ministers agreed that provincial waste management strategies must remain a high priority.
The next meeting of the council of Atlantic Environment Ministers will be held in New Brunswick.
MEDIA CONTACT: Vicky Deschênes, communications, Department of Environment, 506-453-3700.