EDMONTON, AB (January 15, 2013): Today, Wildrose Environment Critic Joe Anglin is calling on Environment Minister Diana McQueen to improve the hearings process and the independence of the Environmental Appeals Board (EAB). In a letter sent to McQueen today, Anglin calls for the Board to scrap its 15-minute time limit for stakeholder presentations and to remove the ministerial override power in order to make the Board’s decisions final and independent.
Yesterday, Anglin attended an EAB hearing in Thorhild over the approval of a landfill site. EAB hearings are intended to be opportunities for Albertans to appeal government actions taken under the Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act, the Water Act, and the Climate Change and Emissions Management Act. “Any Albertan who sits in on these hearings would be offended at how they operate and how little power the Board actually has,” Anglin said. “I am calling on Minister McQueen to make the necessary changes in order for the EAB to be effective and independent for all Albertans.” Anglin adds the EAB has performed well over the years and does provide a valuable service to Albertans, but must be made truly independent in order to fully serve the public. “Because the Minister can overrule the Board, the appeal process is fundamentally flawed,” Anglin said. “I hope Minister McQueen will agree and make the necessary reforms to this important part of our democratic system.”