July 31, 2006

NB Environmental Trust Fund invests over $6M in protection, restoration

New Brunswick's Environmental Trust Fund (ETF) will invest almost $6.4 million in 272 environmental projects throughout New Brunswick in the 2006-07 fiscal year. Provincial Environment Minister Trevor Holder recently released a full list of the projects to be supported this year.

Waste management-related projects will receive a total of $355,000 from the fund, with one of the largest single grants provided to non-profit recycling organization that also provides training and employment for people with special needs. L'Atelier des Copains will use its $80,000 in funding for various activities aimed at improving recycling services offered to the public.

The next largest award, $60,000, is to the Composting Council of Canada for a cost-benefit analysis of composting organic industrial wastes, specifically, forestry residues and poultry manure, as compared to landfilling. The ETF will also provide $40,000 to help the Westmorland-Albert Solid Waste Corporation increase the number of businesses participating in its wet/dry recycling program. The Corporation will establish separation facilities in high-volume commercial areas through the region. In a similar initiative, the Kent County Solid Waste Commission will receive $10,000 to support an intensive education and awareness campaign aimed at expanding its wet/dry recycling program to the industrial, commercial and institutional sector.

The ETF is directing almost $377,000 toward energy conservation projects, including a $100,000 pilot project for bio-oil development. BioAtlantech will use the funding to demonstrate the manufacturing potential of bio-oil from oilseed crops produced in New Brunswick during the off-year rotational growing of potatoes. The project will provide benchmarks for the performance and viability of oilseed crops as a substitute for petroleum-based products.

Another project, awarded $64,500 in ETF funding, involves a pre-engineering feasibility study for district heating/cooling in the Saint John harbour. The city of Saint John will monitor water temperature in the harbour to help determine whether conditions are suitable for use in structural heating and air conditioning systems. The project will also examine the type of existing and future infrastructure that would benefit from such systems, and assess the potential energy savings and economic benefits from these systems.

Several New Brunswick communities will receive ETF grants to help upgrade street lights and/or traffic signals to LED lights to save energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Among them are Edmunston ($42,000), Riverview ($30,000), Fredericton ($20,500) and Sussex ($25,000).

Education, at all levels, is a clear priority for the ETF, with over $1.69 million of its resources going to various projects, from school-based programs and public information and awareness campaigns to professional training and education. Some of the latter projects include:

*$99,000 to support a continuing initiative by the city of Saint John and local community colleges to provide blended delivery of high-quality training for water and wastewater system operators in communities throughout the province;

*$40,000 for a survey by the New Brunswick Environment Industry Association seeking industry's input on opportunities for reducing air emissions and wastewater discharges; and

*$21,500 for a series of workshops, presented by the Coastal Zones Research Institute, to inform fishers and fish plant workers about best management practices for their industry sectors.

A number of other projects address issues such as sustainability and climate change, as well as hazardous materials, air and water quality, and habitat and wetland preservation and restoration. Among these are:

*$73,000 for a proposal by the University of Moncton to develop a Framework for Assessing Brownfield Redevelopment Potential. This will provide a list of key components feeding into economic and social costs and benefits to New Brunswick municipalities.

*$20,000 for a project by the city of Fredericton which will use flooding as a benchmark for costing the impacts of climate change. This will help other communities in their adaptation efforts by providing a means of calculating cost of climate change events and projecting future costs.

*$19,500 for an assessment of mercury levels in New Brunswick waterways. This will help determine what factors lead to high mercury concentrations in the province's streams, rivers and lakes, and will pinpoint those regions where mercury risk is high or low.

A full list of the projects is available on-line at www.gnb.ca/0009/index-e.asp (click on Environmental Trust Fund).

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