By Maureen Kubinec, Barrhead-Morinville-Westlock MLA
Here in Alberta, we are blessed with abundant resources and breathtaking landscapes. Our environment provides us with endless recreational opportunities and our resources are not only ensuring prosperity for our province, but for all of Canada.
Albertans have high expectations that we will develop our natural resources in a responsible and sustainable way and the Government of Alberta is committed to meeting those expectations. That’s why we are establishing an arms-length agency to oversee environmental monitoring – because it is imperative that our work to strengthen how we manage our natural resources be underpinned by a comprehensive and credible science-based environmental monitoring system.
This is a system that will integrate air, water, land and biodiversity monitoring; has scientific oversight; and is accessible and open. In fact, this is a system unlike any other in the world, and it will show Albertans, Canadians and the world that we are serious about our responsibility as stewards of this land.
Implementation of the new environmental monitoring agency will begin in Alberta’s oil sands region, with provincial expansion to follow. In the meantime, government has created a management board to direct the creation of this permanent environmental monitoring agency in Alberta. Members of the board were selected based on their qualifications and successful careers as leaders in environmental research, the academic world, as administrators and in business development and innovation.
As we continue to build on the joint federal-provincial enhanced monitoring system already underway in the oil sands, we are strengthening our position as a global leader in environmental management. Each one of these important pieces feeds into our new approach to how we develop and manage our natural resources. We call it integrated resource management. It’s an approach that will help us address our current and future challenges. Integrated resource management provides a more coordinated focus to all of the work we do around resource development, including environmental management. With the eyes of the world on us, we believe this is the right approach at the right time.
The new arm’s-length environmental monitoring agency is our commitment to Albertans that we have heard their concerns and we are taking action. We will continue to do what we need to in order to protect the air we breathe, the water we drink, the land we cherish, and the abundant wildlife and fish that make our province unique.
I encourage you all to read more about this new agency and the hard work already underway to ensure Alberta remains a world leader in responsible resource management.