by Morinville News Staff
The government is tabling Bill 18, An Act to Ensure Independent Environmental Monitoring, an Act it says would officially move the environmental monitoring, evaluation and reporting functions that were once led by the Alberta Environmental Monitoring Evaluation and Reporting Agency (AEMERA) back into the government fold.
“The decision to return the core function of environmental monitoring to government is about ensuring scientific credibility for environmental monitoring and a more efficient system that is fully accountable to Albertans,” said Shannon Phillips, Minister of Environment and Parks in a release Tuesday. “This legislation puts us well on our way to stronger monitoring, better reporting and the right governance model in place.”
The Act creates the position of the Chief Scientist, outlines the responsibilities of the role with an eye towards ensuring sound scientific practice and the regular reporting of environmental monitoring findings to the public.
Bill 18 also requires the Minister to establish a Science Advisory Panel of experts in the field to provide advice to the Chief Scientist, conduct independent assessment and evaluate the performance of the overall program.
The Minister will also be required to establish an Indigenous Wisdom Advisory Panel to ensure traditional ecological knowledge is incorporated into the environmental science program. These panels were previously established by AEMERA and will be continued.