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Environment

One of the greatest challenges facing government and business leaders today is ensuring that our economic development is environmentally sustainable. There is a strong demand for public policies on a host of issues, such as water use, air quality, carbon emissions, environmental assessments, bio-diversity and at-risk species. The Council is committed to providing decision makers with responsible, evidence-based advice on how to promote economic development that meets the needs of environmental stewardship.

Submission: Special Legislative Committee on Cosmetic Pesticides

On June 2, 2011, the Legislative Assembly agreed to appoint a Special Committee to examine the use of Cosmetic Pesticides and to make recommendations that potentially could lead to new restrictions on the use of these products in British Columbia. The Business Council of British Columbia is pleased to provide these comments on the policy and regulatory framework concerning the cosmetic use of pesticides in British Columbia. The Business Council also has some concern about the prospect of a spreading patchwork of regulation in this domain. We strongly support the implementation of a coherent set of rules across the province, recognizing that urban and rural settings may warrant somewhat different treatment. As we understand it, around 20 municipalities in BC have already taken steps to restrict pesticide use, with some prohibiting all pesticides in their jurisdictions while others allow some applications with a municipally‐issued permit. Having an array of diverse or conflicting rules in different communities can create unnecessary confusion for industry as well as consumers and leads to higher compliance costs. The Ministry of Environment should ensure that any changes touching on the cosmetic use of pesticides will supersede municipal regulations in order to establish a coherent provincial regulatory framework for the use of pesticide products.

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The Natural Gas Story

Environment and Energy Bulletin       v3 n2
Both globally and in North America, natural gas is poised to play a bigger role in meeting the energy needs of consumers, businesses and communities. Recent discoveries of large unconventional (shale) gas deposits in the United States, Canada and parts of Europe have heightened awareness that natural gas is an abundant, widely distributed and cost-effective energy source. Many analysts also see natural gas as a “foundation” fuel that can help to pave the way to a lower-carbon energy future. And with a number of countries – Japan, Germany, etc. – now looking at reducing their reliance on nuclear power, the global appetite for natural gas seems poised to increase markedly in the coming years.

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Lessons Learned from the Prosperity Mine Decision:
Enhancing Project Certainty Through a Social Licence Strategy

Environment and Energy Bulletin       v3 n1
Since the Federal Cabinet’s decision in November, 2010 to prohibit the proposed Prosperity Mine project from proceeding, questions have arisen about how this outcome came to pass, especially in circumstances where the project was previously approved through the British Columbia environmental assessment process and received strong words of support from the BC Government. One only has to consider the voluminous media coverage of this dilemma to understand the answer and to gain an appreciation of what now appears to be the most critical ingredient for success in any major resource project proposal. The critical ingredient? - “social licence” to develop and operate the project.

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Realizing British Columbia's Second Renewable Electricity Revolution

Authored by OnPoint Consulting Inc.

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Climate Change: BC's Progress Toward a Low-Carbon Economy

Authored by Nancy Olewiler, Simon Fraser University

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Good and Getting Better: Air Quality in the Lower Mainland

Today, urban air quality in Canada is subject to regular monitoring as the human health impacts of exposure to various contaminants are better understood. The sources of air contaminants and the interactions among them clearly affect local air quality, as do factors such as geographic location (coastal versus interior), seasonality and weather conditions, and the extent of trans-boundary pollution. In both Canada and the United States, national and provincial/state regulations exist to manage air quality and set standards for emissions. In British Columbia, Metro Vancouver (formerly the Greater Vancouver Regional District) is in a unique position within Canada because it has delegated authority from the provincial government to regulate air quality in the Lower Mainland. Recently, Metro Vancouver released the long-awaited summary of its 2005 air emissions inventory. This issue of the Business Council’s Environment Bulletin reviews the results of the inventory, examines the projections developed by Metro Vancouver staff, and considers some implications for regional and provincial policy on air quality going forward.

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