March 13, 2006

Manitoba adopts "green growth" as budget cornerstone

WINNIPEG, MAN-Growing Green, Growing Smart is one of the four cornerstones of Manitoba's 2006 budget, presented by Finance Minister Greg Selinger. Among the highlights are: further support for biofuels development; more funds for water quality and infrastructure; additional resources to improve drinking water safety; and new wind farm projects. A $1.5 million federal-provincial program will promote community-based biodiesel production facilities. In addition, the 2006 budget removes fuel and sales tax from biofuel. Following the success of the St-Léon wind farm, more projects are planned and are expected to generate $2 billion in investment and $100 million in wind-rights payments for landowners. A new Environmental Enhancement Loan Program will be established to help farmers increase the environmental performance of their land. The budget provides for a 30% increase in funding for water infrastructure projects; it more than doubles funding for drainage. In addition to expanding resources available for improved drinking water safety, the budget allocates extra resources to help protect sensitive ground and surface water. Cost-shared support for Winnipeg's wastewater and treatment upgrade will be provided as well. Finally, new support will be provided to advance the UNESCO World Heritage site nomination as well as First Nations land planning and sustainable resource management projects on the east side of Lake Winnipeg.

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