February 12, 2007

PEI releases environmental enforcement statistics for 2006

Prince Edward Island's Department of Environment, Energy and Forestry laid 106 charges and issued 152 warnings in 2006. A just-released report on environmental enforcement figures for 2006 says these included charges and warnings for open burning, hunting and fishing violations, buffer zone infractions, improper pesticide application, littering and illegal dumping, and altering a watercourse without a permit.

"Enforcement numbers are certainly not the only measure of environmental protection. However, the numbers are important to help identify areas where more work is needed," said Minister Jamie Ballem. "The focus of provincial enforcement efforts is compliance. Our objective is to ensure that where violations do occur, the individual or company is aware of requirements under environmental legislation and takes steps to be in compliance with the legislation. That will continue to be the approach in 2007."

The department's Investigation and Enforcement Section consists of conservation officers and pesticide regulatory officers located throughout the province. The section underwent a number of changes last year, aimed at improving service. One of the changes was the designation of one position as an Aboriginal conservation officer. As well, some conservation officers were assigned a primary focus of environmental enforcement, while others were tasked with greater focus on natural resources. As well, pesticide regulatory officers, while primarily responsible for enforcing the Pesticides Control Act, have been designated as environment officers, thus involving them in enforcement of some sections of the Environmental Protection Act.

Along with these two acts, the section has responsibility for enforcing other provincial environmental legislation, including the Wildlife Conservation Act, the Natural Areas Protection Act, the Unsightly Property Act and PEI's Automobile Junk Yards Act.

They also enforce several other provincial and federal acts and regulations related to pollution prevention and wildlife protection. For example, conservation officers enforce sections of the Trespass to Property Act related to hunting and fishing, littering offences under the Highway Traffic Act, and the federal Migratory Birds Convention Act related to the protection of migratory birds.

More information is available from contact Sandra Lambe, Environment, Energy and Forestry, 902/368-5286, E-mail selambe@gov.pe.ca.

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