A Friday in the provincial legislature was informative (the high capacity well issue) and parts just a bit bombastic (the HST accounting questions during Question Period).
MLA Paula Biggar, who is chairperson for the Standing Committee on Agriculture, Environment, Energy and Forestry, tabled a report from her committee about its work and recommendations to the Legislature.
The committee said they strongly urge the moratorium on high capacity wells for agriculture not be lifted, as they want to let the last people present to them sometime after the House is done sitting (May?). They also recommend that “Government develop a Water Act.”
Select Friday, April 4th, and it is about 66 minutes into the broadcast.
Legislative Assembly Video Archives
3:50 into the broadcast
Compass TV News from Friday night
A few comments:
As someone posted on Facebook — “Breathing room. But no complacency.” — as a committee’s recommendation is not binding, and though reported on CBC, I don’t think it was the committee who was approached to lift the moratorium in the first place.
Here is a link to the Committee’s report that was tabled (five pages).
The transcript of today’s proceedings will be available here sometime early next week:
Do look at the whole five page report when you get a chance. Note both the fact that Minister Webster is listed as having made a written submission, and the line in the report (bold is mine) shows that no final decision has been made is in bold here:
3. At the present time, your committee does not recommend any changes to the 2002 moratorium on new high capacity wells for agricultural irrigation.
Your committee wishes to continue its investigations into this matter, including hearing from the witnesses that were prevented from appearing due to bad weather, and additional individuals and organizations that have expressed interest. This has proven to be a complex issue and your committee does not wish to make recommendations prematurely. Witnesses to date have made compelling arguments both for and against the lifting of the moratorium, and your committee continues to consider these very carefully. The interest of so many individuals and groups and the capacity attendance at committee meetings to date speak to how important this issue, and water in general, is to Islanders. Your committee’s work is not done on this issue.
And it is likely there will be more ad-ucation from the Potato Board in the paper in the coming weeks…
But, overall, people taking notice of this issue, and coming to committee meetings, writing letters (which is key!), planning and attending public information events like the forum with Maude Barlow, and urging organizations to take a stand on this, and a group like the Coalition for the Protection of PEI Water forming — all make a huge difference for the future of this Island.
Perhaps there is a change in the season.
The following is the report:
April 4, 2014
Standing Committee on Agriculture, Environment, Energy and Forestry Second Report of the Fourth Session, Sixty-fourth General Assembly Committee Activities and Request to Meet Intersessionally
Madam Speaker and Members of the Legislative Assembly:
The Standing Committee on Agriculture, Environment, Energy and Forestry is pleased to present its report to the Members of the Legislative Assembly concerning its activities during the Fourth Session of the Sixty-fourth General Assembly.
The Standing Committee on Agriculture, Environment, Energy and Forestry is charged with matters concerning agriculture, environment, energy and forestry. In addition, it may, by majority opinion, meet to examine and inquire into such matters and things as the committee deems appropriate.
Permanent members of your committee are:
Paula Biggar, Chair (District 23, Tyne Valley-Linkletter) James Aylward (District 6, Stratford-Kinlock)
Kathleen Casey (District 14, Charlottetown-Lewis Point) Bush Dumville (District 15, West Royalty-Springvale) Colin LaVie (District 1, Souris-Elmira)
Pat Murphy (District 26, Alberton-Roseville)
Hal Perry (District 27, Tignish-Palmer Road)
Buck Watts (District 8, Tracadie-Hillsborough Park)
Sonny Gallant (District 24, Evangeline-Miscouche) and Charles McGeoghegan (District 4, Belfast-Murray River) also served as substitute members.
On February 5 your committee met to consider its work plan.
On February 13 your committee met to receive a presentation on deep well irrigation by Hon. Janice Sherry, Bruce Raymond and Jim Young of the Department of Environment, Labour and Justice.
On February 27 your committee met to receive presentations on deep well irrigation by the Coalition for the Protection of PEI Water, and Keptin John Joe Sark.
On March 6 your committee met to receive presentations on deep well irrigation by the National Farmers Union, the PEI Watershed Alliance, the Central Queens Branch of the PEI Wildlife Federation, the Green Party of PEI, and Innovative Farms Group.