May 14, 2010
FREDERICTON (CNB) - The Clean Environment Act has been amended to allow regional solid waste commissions to produce electricity and to sell it to public and private users. Environment Minister Rick Miles made the announcement today.
"By turning methane gas into energy, the regional solid waste commissions can help us reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and address the issue of climate change," said Miles. "Today's announcement is proof that our government is committed to promoting and encouraging the development of renewable energy in New Brunswick.
"The promotion of environmental sustainability is a priority of our government and a major focus of our New Brunswick Climate Change Action Plan 2007-2012. In the fight against climate change, residents, businesses and all levels of governments must get involved."
In June 2007, the provincial government launched the action plan, which outlines actions to be taken in the province to reduce GHG emissions. The plan highlights the significant role that landfill gas collection can play in achieving this objective, and it commits the provincial government to encouraging projects that capture methane gases from landfills and use them to produce energy where feasible.
"The amendment of the act is an important milestone for the New Brunswick solid waste commissions and for the promotion of renewable energy in New Brunswick," said Energy Minister Jack Keir. "This amendment will enable the solid waste commissions to move forward with their plans to produce renewable energy, which is terrific."
The Department of Environment has been working with the commissions to develop landfill gas collection systems. The department has awarded nearly $4.5 million through the Climate Action Fund to the Fundy Region Solid Waste Commission, the Nepisiguit-Chaleur Solid Waste Commission, la Commission de gestion enviro-ressources du Nord-Ouest and the Westmorland-Albert Solid Waste Corporation to help them in their efforts.
Municipalities and rural communities may also produce electricity as a result of amendments to the Municipalities Act that came into force on Jan. 18. With these changes, municipalities and rural communities have the authority to construct, own and operate a generation facility; and to use the electricity for their own purposes or sell it within defined parameters.
Projects that potentially could be undertaken by municipalities and rural communities include wind power, co-generation, solar-powered electricity and bio-gas.
"I welcome these policy changes since they will help ensure that our regions become self-sufficient," said Local Government Minister Chris Collins. "These amendments will offer regional solid waste commissions and New Brunswick communities a new opportunity to work in partnership with governments and the ability to produce energy."
MEDIA CONTACT: Jennifer Graham, public affairs, Department of Environment, 506- 453-3700.