Last week saw the release of “Getting to K(No)w”, the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario’s 2007-08 annual report. The title of the report describes the overall theme: that the government needs to “Know” all the implications of a project before approval, and learn to say “No” to bad projects.
The Environmental Commissioner’s Office is Ontario’s independent environmental watchdog. Headed by Commissioner Gord Miller, the Office monitors the government’s compliance with the Environmental Bill of Rights, helps citizens understand their environmental rights, and provides access to the Environmental Registry. The Registry provides the public with an opportunity to add their voice to environmental proposals and decisions from most Ontario ministries.
The main focus of the Commissioner’s annual report is the current state of the Environmental Process. He describes it as “a vision lost,” lacking in transparency. The Commissioner explains that flaws in the Environmental Assessment process have been exploited and important issues that may shut down a project are often excluded: “Things get excluded, like the discussion of the need for the project, and the discussion of alternatives that could satisfy that need. The very essence of the Environmental Assessment [can] be scoped out of a process. And that is totally unsatisfactory, yet it remains the case to this day.”
This Week's Living at the Barricades:
ECO Report 2008: A Vision Lost?(Oct. 30, 2008)
This week Mark and Krystyn explore Ontario's Environmental Assessment Act, the process for making sure the environment is respected in development projects. Ontario's Environmental Commissioner Gord Miller joins the program today to talk about his annual report on the government's environmental activities, and how the Environmental Assessment Act is a flawed program that needs immediate attention.
Music on this week's Episode:
Tagish Elvis Knows It Ain't Easy by Wayne Omaha
Plastic Bags by The Chickens