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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Farnworth Releases Comprehensive Environmental Platform

Farnworth Releases Comprehensive Environmental Platform; Highlights Sustainability, Increased Scrutiny

by Mike Farnworth for BC NDP Leader on Tuesday, February 22, 2011 at 12:39pm
For Immediate Release

Tuesday February 22, 2011

Farnworth Releases Comprehensive Environmental Platform; Highlights Sustainability, Increased Scrutiny

(Nelson) -- Vowing to make the environment and sustainability a key focus of his leadership campaign and an NDP government, BC NDP leadership candidate Mike Farnworth released a comprehensive environmental protection platform today while traveling in the Kootenays.
“My involvement in politics grew out of a deep personal belief that government has a sacred duty to be stewards of the natural beauty that surrounds us, “ says Farnworth, who first ran for Port Coquitlam City Council at 24 years of age to protect the Colony Farm lands and the Coquitlam River.

Farnworth’s environmental platform details specific policies to make sustainability the key lens through which public policy is viewed and actions he would undertake to protect BC’s environment.

“Since my first foray into fighting to protect the environment, it has become clear that sustainability doesn’t end with protecting parkland and green spaces.  It must go further.  Understanding true sustainability means understanding that nothing happens in isolation, everything is connected,” says Farnworth.

BC NDP MLA and Chair of the party’s Rural Caucus Norm Macdonald agrees, saying “Mike Farnworth’s bold platform on the environment sends a strong message. It is a message to all of us who understand the need for sustainability that Mike is the only choice for leader.”

Farnworth’s plan is built upon the principles of Sustainable BC, which has been adopted by the BCNDP as vision for moving our province forward.  Key highlights include:

  • A promise to open all existing IPP power purchasing agreements for public review and scrutiny and where possible ending or amending agreements that don’t serve the public interest, as well as a moratorium on all new IPPs;
  • A “no net-loss” policy for the Agricultural Land Reserve in each region and an enhance BUY BC program and BC Food First policy to support local food production;
  • The creation of a “blue belt” to protect wild salmon spawning and migration areas and a move to innovative closed containment aquaculture technology;                           
  • A promise to return BC Parks to public trust management with protection from development; including industrial staking and drilling in BC Parks granted by the BC Liberals.
  • Repeal of the Significant Projects Streamlining Act that strips decision-making from local governments;
  • A shift of carbon tax revenue to transit and low-carbon green initiatives and inclusion of industrial emitters to pay the tax; and,
  • A massive program of reforestation, and restrictions on raw-log exports.

“Mike has consulted and listened, and that’s a great representation of his leadership style. He is reaching out to British Columbians, and he has encompassed their views in this visionary agenda,” says BC NDP MLA and Environment Critic Rob Fleming.

The following is a comprehensive overview of Mike Farnworth’s Environment platform:

Tackling Climate Change and Protecting our Environment

A Mike Farnworth NDP Government will:

  • Pursue a comprehensive strategy to reduce net emissions among consumers and industry.
  • Improve the carbon tax by shifting revenue to public transit and green initiatives that offer real choices for people and ensure fairness by including industrial emitters under the tax.
  • Make Zero Waste a priority by enacting Waste Reduction legislation that supports the efforts of local government to reduce organic and non-recyclable packaging wastegoing to landfills. .
  • End the reckless restructuring of BC’s natural resource ministries.
  • Increase funding to the Ministry of Environment to ensure we have the necessary conservation and inspection staff with  the tools needed to do the job.

Promoting Agriculture and Food Security

A Mike Farnworth NDP Government will:

  • Develop a comprehensive strategy toenable sustainable agriculture in British Columbia.
  • Increase demand for BC grown products through initiatives including an expanded BUY BC program and a BC Food-First policy.
  • Ensure the Agricultural Land Commission is independent and has sufficient funding to pursue its mission.
  • Stop the practice of replacing high-quality agricultural land with low-quality agricultural land and implement a “no net-loss” policy for each region.
  • Support the return of the Southlands and other farmable land to the ALR.
  • Change regulations to end disincentives to farm-gate sales, as well as small and medium scale production.

Fighting for BC’s Water, Land and Air

A Mike Farnworth NDP Government will:

  • Establish an expanded Environmental Assessment process that is independent, fully-funded and utilizes a triple bottom line to assess the full spectrum of economic, social and environmental considerations and the cumulative impacts of project proposals.
  • Create sustainable forestry management through a massive program of reforestation, identification and protection of key old growth forests for carbon storage and habitat for species at risk, restrictions on raw log exports and incentives to promote value-added manufacturing.
  • Make changes to the proposed Water Sustainability Act that offers real protection for water supply and flow, not just guidelines.  Stop the risk of privatization of water by opposing the creation of tradable private water markets in the Act.
  • Enact new legislation specifically to protect BC’s groundwater and a comprehensive strategy to improve water conservation.
  • Provide provincial support to regional integrated watershed management and shared water governance programs.
  • Enhance air quality by ending the piecemeal, voluntary approach to air-shed plans and mandating consistent air-shed planning province wide.

Protecting BC’s Coast and Fish

A Mike Farnworth NDP Government will:

  • Increase the number of provincial Marine Protected Areas and work with the federal government to achieve our international commitment to the Convention on Biological Diversity of at least 10%, which currently sits at 1.98%. 
  • Support a ban on Offshore Oil Exploration and Northern Coastal Tanker Traffic.
  • Protect wild salmon and encourage sustainable aquaculture by moving to closed containment salmon farming facilities, and by the creation of a “blue belt” to protect wild salmon spawning and migration areas.

Enhancing BC’s bio-diversity and parks

A Mike Farnworth NDP Government will:

  • End the commercialization and decline of BC Parks by returning our parks to public use and management as a public trust with strong protection from development.
  • Implement an Endangered Species Act based on sound science to protect the habitat of endangered species and identify, protect and recover species.
  • Fight for Federal enforcement of the Species at Risk Act which includes protection for BC’s orca whales which is currently not enforced.
  • Ban the sale and use of cosmetic pesticides province-wide.
  • Introduce and enforce tougher poaching laws and support conservation efforts of responsible hunting and fishing organizations and environmental groups.
  • Provide greater protection to unique, sensitive ecosystems such as Burns Bog by honouring Conservation Covenant signed by all levels of government.

Protecting the Public Interest

A Mike Farnworth NDP Government will:

  • End the sell off our public assets by placing a moratorium on all new independent power projects; end the secrecy by opening up all existing power purchasing agreements to public review and scrutiny; and where possible end or amend agreements that don’t serve the public interest.
  • Reinstate independent oversight of the BC Utilities Commission.
  • Establish a Standing Committee of the Legislature on Climate Change and Environmental Sustainability.
  • Expand the  role for the Auditor General to report on  performance of government programs, planning and stewardship of  BC’s  environment.
  • Repeal the Significant Projects Streamlining Act that strips local communities of decision making power.
  • Enact whistleblower protection and strengthen FOI laws for experts who study impacts of decision-making on our environment.
  • Enact “Right to Know” legislation that requires labelling of products that contain toxins or carcinogens. Ban the use of cosmetic pesticides in residential and public areas, including parks and school yards.

1 comment:

  1. Terry Stobbart
    Christy Clarke was from the Gordon Campbell group. One of the reasons she left the political scene was because her brother was implicated in the BC Rail scandal. If that had played out, she would not be premier elect, believe me. She played up the *Not from the Gordon Campbell group, but she was the WORST education minister ever, and left every cabinet she was involved in chaos. Voters did not have the choice remember, it was the BC Liberal Caucus that voted her premier elect. Voters unfortunately have short memories...Christy Clarke was elected as the "change" for BC Liberals, but when she went on and on ad nauseum about Gordon Campbell, it showed me and hopefully many BC voters, that it is business as usual under a different name. Just pray we get a good NDP Leader that knows how to deal with Christy Clarke - my choice is Mike Farnworth!