Friday, October 13, 2006

Tory Clean Air Act Leaked

The Sierra Club of Canada, Friends of the Earth Canada and Greenpeace have obtained a leaked draft of the Conservative's Clean Air Act. The groups are condemning the draft as being nothing more than a minor housekeeping bill that offers only adjustments to existing language while giving provinces the option to opt out of what few existing regulations are in place.

The bill would let provinces opt out of federal rules, according to the draft, which was circulated by the Sierra Club of Canada, Friends of the Earth Canada and Greenpeace. Also, because the draft would regulate some substances as ``air pollutants,'' and not ``toxic'' materials, companies may be able to challenge it because federal jurisdiction over pollutants has never been established, said Greenpeace's Steven Guilbault.

``It's a delay tactic, it's a serious delay tactic,'' Beatrice Olivastri, chief executive of Friends of the Earth Canada, told reporters a press conference in Ottawa. Current laws governing toxic materials have been ruled valid by the country's Supreme Court, Guilbault noted.

In commenting on the August draft, the groups acknowledge that they have to way of knowing how representative it is to the final bill. However, given that back in August the Conservatives still had a "plan" rather than an "approach" for addressing air quality and CO2, and that the Environment Minister herself has said that emissions will rise under the new bill, it seems safe to bet that the final Act will offer nothing more substantial.

The Conservatives will announce the bill on Tuesday.

Hat tip to: Le Revue Gauche

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