Overshadowed by a green funding announcement, an update on the province’s environmental plan came out yesterday to mixed reviews.
Passed by all parties, the Environmental Goals and Sustainability Act is the definitive plan for the province to go green. At the time, it was praised by environmental groups as ambitious, but yesterday those same groups expressed some concern.
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Of the Act’s 21 goals, five had deadlines in 2008 or 2009. Of those, only three are on track to be met.
“We have some sympathy (in struggling to meet goals), but to some extent you have to say a goal is a goal, a promise is a promise,” Mark Butler, policy director for the Ecology Action Centre in Halifax, said yesterday.
Most worrisome to Butler is that one goal was dropped altogether -- new homes were supposed to have energy-efficiency labels so prospective buyers could tell how efficient they are.
“They made that mandatory in the legislation that this would have to happen. And then they dropped it back down to voluntary, which was what it was beforehand,” he said.
“The strength of this act is it was goals with dates in legislation. Now if they can just drop a goal basically, what does that mean for the other ones?”
Butler said the positive news is the government is set to meet its 2009 goals on wetlands, sustainable procurement and nitrogen oxide emission targets.
The Progressive Conservative party immediately praised the update, saying it showed targets were being met and progress made.
- with files from Kristen Lipscombe