The Government of Alberta has named a group of experts to provide detailed advice on establishing a province-wide comprehensive environmental monitoring system.
“Our goal is to build a world-class, science-based monitoring system,” said Diana McQueen, Minister of Environment and Water. “This team of scientific, regulatory and academic experts will review governance and funding options and provide recommendations to the government so that we continue making progress.” The working group will focus on developing an implementation plan based on previous recommendations from the Alberta Environmental Monitoring Panel: establishing a system with appropriate transparency and scientific oversight to carry out environmental monitoring, evaluation, and reporting functions; and providing a dedicated, stable revenue stream to fund monitoring, evaluation, and reporting activities across the province.
“Although the Alberta government set aside $11 million in Budget 2012 for monitoring, the estimated cost for a cumulative effects monitoring system is significantly higher,” added McQueen. “The working group will consider what structures need to be in place to ensure a dedicated revenue stream and they will look at the number of organizations that currently play a role in environmental monitoring and consider the best ways to integrate and further this work.”
Leading the six-member working group is Howard Tennant, the former president and vice-chancellor of the University of Lethbridge. Tennant was also a co-chair of the Alberta Environmental Monitoring Panel, which provided 20 recommendations to government in July 2011 on building a world-class monitoring system.
“I’m pleased to say we are taking solid steps towards the implementation of a new environmental monitoring system for the province,” said Howard Tennant, chair of the working group. “This next step is to ensure the system has proper governance and sustainable funding in place.”
The working group will also identify the roles of the various parties in the system, including government agencies, current monitoring partners, stakeholders, and First Nations.
The working group will report back to government by June 30.