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September 18, 2009
For immediate release

Atlantic Environment Ministers Meet for Regional Discussions

Environment, Energy & Forestry

The Council of Atlantic Environment Ministers gathered in St. Johnís this week to discuss regional approaches and co-operation on a number of significant environmental issues.

The Honourable Charlene Johnson, Newfoundland and Labrador Minister of Environment and Conservation, was joined by the Honourable Sterling Belliveau, Minister of Environment, Nova Scotia; the Honourable Rick Miles, Minister of Environment, New Brunswick; and the Honourable Richard Brown, Minister of Environment, Energy and Forestry, Prince Edward Island.

An informative presentation on pesticides for lawn care was presented by New Brunswick. The ministers agreed to establish a regional committee of officials to discuss the current practices in each of the Atlantic provinces, with a request for officials to bring forward opportunities for co-operation by spring 2010.

After the presentation, Minister Brown expressed an interest in adapting the New Brunswick approach on pesticides to fit Prince Edward Islandís needs.

ďItís in the best interest of government, industry and citizens to have as consistent an approach as possible in Atlantic Canada,Ē said the minister.

In anticipation of the upcoming climate change meetings in Copenhagen in December, the ministers discussed the importance of their continued efforts to support measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) and present a unified Atlantic perspective. Atlantic ministers welcome the opportunity to have additional discussions with Minister Prentice prior to the Copenhagen meetings. They want to ensure GHG reduction initiatives, such as clean energy and related technology and infrastructure, will be eligible for carbon credits, and that each province be treated equitably under the federal GHG regulatory framework, including the proposed Climate Change Technology Fund.

Further discussions on GHG reductions resulted in the ministersí decision to call upon the Federal Government to extend funding for the EcoAction Trust Fund beyond its 2010 deadline. The EcoAction Trust Fund for Clean Air and Climate Change was established by the Government of Canada and provided funding over a three-year period to support projects that provide real reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. The ministers agreed that each of their jurisdictions have greatly benefited from this support and have helped implement meaningful and sustainable measures to reduce emissions.

While the ministers agreed that waste management initiatives are well underway in Atlantic Canada, they recognized that other opportunities exist to further manage and reduce waste in the region. The ministers looked at various waste management opportunities, including electronic waste (e-waste) and used tire management. Nova Scotia and New Brunswick extended invitations to their Atlantic counterparts to visit the Nova Scotia e-waste facility and the New Brunswick tire recycling facility and build upon their success in these areas. They focused on Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) as an effective measure for waste reduction in the region, and all ministers agreed that provincial waste management strategies must remain a high priority.

In keeping with the discussions on the adverse effects of GHG emissions, the Atlantic environment ministers toured the methane gas recovery unit at the Robin Hood Bay landfill. Landfill Gas Collecting and Flaring Systems (LGCFS) have the potential to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions, with the Robin Hood Bay site realizing reductions of approximately 50,000 - 60,000 tonnes per year. Through the LGCFS, methane is captured, and the potential exists for it to be converted into electricity or fuel for vehicles. The Newfoundland and Labrador project received support from the EcoAction Trust Fund and reiterates the Atlantic ministersí call upon the Federal Government to continue funding for such sustainable initiatives.

The next meeting of the Council of Atlantic Environment Ministers will be held in New Brunswick.

Media Contact: Ron Ryder
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