GNWT Abdicates Responsibility for Protecting Environment and Public Trust

The NWT Chapter of the Council of Canadians disagrees with the GNWT Environment and Natural Resource Minister’s refusal to carry out an investigation of fracking chemicals under the Environmental Rights Act (ERA) and believes that he is abdicating his legal responsibility for protecting the environment and public trust.

Minister Miltenberger has essentially told the Chapter that the legislation guiding the National Energy Board and the Sahtu Land and Water Board override his authority to protect the public trust and the environment as required under the ERA. This assertion was made in Minister Miltenberger’s October 22, 2013 response to the NWT Chapter’s request for an investigation into, and full disclosure of the specific name and quantity of fracking chemicals to be used in ConocoPhilips’ hydraulic fracturing program in the Sahtu. In its letter back to Minister Miltenberger, the Chapter quotes from the ERA (section 2.3) which clearly states that the ERA will prevail in cases of conflict with other legislation.

The NWT Chapter contends that the Minister responsible for the ERA is obligated to carry out the requested investigation unless he believes that the release or likely release of contaminants does not pose a threat to the environment or the public trust. Since the Minister has refused to investigate, the NWT Chapter has written a response to Minister Miltenberger asking if this is in fact the GNWT’s position and if it is, how this decision was made.

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Posted on November 4, 2013, in Democracy, Fracking, NWT Chapter Updates, Water and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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