Nashwaak Watershed Association Press Release For Immediate Release August 19, 2014

Ombudsman vindicates Nashwaak Watershed Association’s claims of government inaction on Water Classification program

Ombudsman concludes the Water Classification Regulation 2002-13, of the Clean Water Act “exists primarily as a mirage”

Fredericton - Today, the Nashwaak Watershed Association (NWAI) responded to the “Report of the Ombudsman into the Department of Environment’s Management of the Provincial Water Classification Program”, released on Friday, August 15th by Ombudsman Charles Murray.

“We are both saddened and encouraged by the Ombudsman’s findings,” says Paul McLaughlin, President of the Nashwaak Watershed Association.

“Saddened because for more than ten years now, we have been working, largely as volunteers and in good faith with the Department of Environment, to see enacted the protections afforded under the Clean Water Act, and we have been stalled in our efforts by the inaction, indecision and neglect by our provincial government.”

McLaughlin, speaking on behalf of the community-based watershed association, said “we are however, also heartened by the fact that the Ombudsman’s report is an unequivocal validation of our concerns and attempts to move the program forward over the intervening years”.

The Report makes strong statements about the inaction of successive governments in proceeding with water classification and about their assertions that the legislation is unenforceable: “The suggestion that there continues to be unaddressed issues about the legality of Regulation 2002-13 12 years after its coming into force strains credulity.”

The NWAI has long asserted that the delays in implementing the program have left New Brunswick’s water effectively without protection. This point too is clearly reflected in the report, “… Regulation 2002-13’s complete ineffectiveness is in some respects worse than having no regulation at all. Like a smoke detector without batteries, it provides no protection …”

The Association has also charged that the Department of the Environment’s claim they are working to amend the legislation is simply foot dragging, and this point has not escaped comment by the Ombudsman: “… the Department indicated that it planned to have a new Regulation in place by 2016. With respect, we considered that timeline to be so distant as to amount to little more than aspirational thinking.”

Stephanie Merrill, Freshwater Program Director for the Conservation Council of New Brunswick, who supported NWAI’s complaint to the Ombudsman, echoes McLaughlin.

“We have been trying to highlight the rollbacks and facade of water protections in New Brunswick in recent years and this report helps big-time,” said Merrill “it feels like a victory after years of frustration.”

“We are proud to work with and support NWAI in this effort. NWAI has stepped up to defend their river and their years of work”, says Merrill. “We hope that the Report has rippling affects across all watersheds and rivers in New Brunswick with outstanding applications to be classified such as the Meduxnekeag, the Kennebacasis, the Richibucto, the Miramichi, and 14 others,” she continued.

McLaughlin and Merrill are both looking forward to meeting with the Department to hear their detailed plan to address the ineffectiveness of this program, as recommended by the Ombudsman.

The NWAI will continue to work with government and other stakeholders towards the implementation of an effective water classification system. NWAI sees the upcoming provincial election as an opportunity to press political candidates for their positions on this issue and hopes to encourage all who plan to vote to do the same.

Background: Water classification timeline

2002 – Water Classification Regulations are introduced and water classification efforts, supported by the New Brunswick Environmental Trust Fund, begin.

2002-2012 – Non‐governmental groups continue to work in good faith with the Department of the Environment, waiting for perceived issues with the legislation to be addressed in order to proceed with classification.

June 2012 ‐ A coalition of five community organizations file an official request to the New Brunswick Department of Environment and Local Government to classify the Nashwaak River and its tributaries under Section 8.2 of Classification Regulation 2002‐13 of the Clean Water Act 2002‐56, as largely pristine “A” class waters.

July 2012 ‐ The NWAI receives a non‐response from the provincial government, indicating neither acceptance nor denial of the application.

February 2013 ‐ NWAI submits a complaint to the New Brunswick Ombudsman, requesting an investigation into the government’s inaction on regulation 2002‐13 the Water Classification Regulation of the Clean Water Act.

August 15, 2014 ‐ New Brunswick Ombudsman, Charles Murray, tables his report on the pursuant investigation to the New Brunswick Legislature.

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Links:
Ombudsman’s Report: http://www.gnb.ca/0073/PDF/EnglishWaterClassificationReport.pdf
http://www.nashwaakwatershed.ca
http://www.conservationcouncil.ca

Resources:
http://www.nashwaakwatershed.ca/resources/water‐classification‐fact‐sheet/
Conservation Council summary of Ombudsman’s report ‐ http://www.conservationcouncil.ca http://www2.gnb.ca/content/gnb/en/services/services_renderer.201090.html

Contacts:
Paul McLaughlin,
President Nashwaak Watershed Association
Tel: (506) 450-4943 Cell: (506) 440-3625
E-mail: blindfaithstudio@gmail.com

Stephanie Merrill,
Freshwater Program Director Conservation Council of New Brunswick
Tel: (506) 458.8747 Cell: (506) 261.8317
E-mail: water@conservationcouncil.ca

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Action Alerts

ACTION ALERT: Reinstate funding to the Canadian Environmental Network

Friday, 03 February 2017
by Raissa Marks
The Canadian Environmental Network and its provincial affiliate networks need your help!

Historically, the Canadian Environmental Network and its provincial affiliate networks including the NBEN received annual core funding from the Government of Canada. This was used to facilitate networking on environmental issues across the country, coordinate national and provincial issue-based caucuses, coordinate ENGO participation in federal public consultation processes, and maintain open lines of communication between ENGOs and the federal government.

In 2011, as part of the across-the-board cuts to civil society organizations by the previous federal government, all federal funding to the RCEN and its provincial affiliate networks was cut. This left the national network and most of the affiliates with functioning primarily on a voluntary basis with limited capacity to do their work.

There is hope that the current government will provide for renewed funding in its upcoming budget. This funding is crucial for the survival of the national network and many of the provincial affiliate networks. A proposal has been submitted. It now needs strong and immediate support from environmental groups and individuals across the country.

This is where you come in!

Please take a few minutes to write to Prime Minister Trudeau and your MP telling them why you value the RCEN, your provincial affiliate network, or environmental networking at the national level in general. Feel free to use the template letter provided below. You can personalize it based on your experience or simply copy and paste.

Trudeau’s email is justin.trudeau@parl.gc.ca and you can find your MP’s email here: http://www.parl.gc.ca/Parliamentarians/en/members

Let’s show our federal politicians that a strong, well-connected grassroots environmental community is essential to a strong Canada!

Draft Template Letter:

Dear Prime Minister Trudeau,

I am writing to ask that annual core funding to the Canadian Environmental Network (RCEN) be reinstated.

Historically, the RCEN provided a crucial link between environmental groups across the country, both large and small. This link was vital in helping communities address environmental issues right across the country and ensuring a robust approach to the development of environmental policy in Canada.

Since funding was cut in 2011, the RCEN and most of its provincial affiliate networks have been functioning primarily on a voluntary basis with limited capacity to do their work. This is not acceptable. A strong, well-connected grassroots environmental community is essential to a strong Canada. I urge you to reinstate core funding for this crucial work immediately.

Sincerely,

Still Time to Submit Comments - Snowmobile Trail Development up Mount Carleton

Monday, 21 November 2016
by Roberta Clowater, Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society - New Brunswick Chapter
You can still send in your comments until end of day Nov 21 (Monday) on the environmental assessment report about the proposed snowmobile trail at Mount Carleton Provincial Park. If you're not sure what to say, Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society - NB Chapter has summarized some of our key messages here: http://cpawsnb.org/images/upload/key_messages_EIA.pdf

Please send comments or questions to: lynn.white@gnb.ca or mail to: Lynn White, Department of Tourism, Heritage and Culture, P.O. Box 6000, Fredericton, NB E3B 5H1.
L'Ombudsman justifie la plainte de la Nashwaak Watershed Association à propos de l'inaction du gouvernement sur le Programme de classification des eaux