EcoWeek,  March 7, 2005

BC budget for 2005 increases WLAP ministry allocation by $7.8M

A $7.8 million increase for the Ministry of Water, Land and Air Protection's 2004-2005 budget will help British Columbia build on the significant progress it has made supporting habitat and wildlife protection and restoration projects throughout the province, Water, Land and Air Protection Minister Bill Barisoff said last week. The budget includes $150 million worth of commitments to enhance environmental protection and land use certainty.

The budget confirms $6.5 million in funding to help BC's Habitat Conservation Trust Fund (HCTF) to manage and support its ongoing conservation efforts by providing additional funding to community groups who undertake conservation projects (ELW February 28). The remaining $1.3 million will be used to fund conservation research grants to post-secondary institutions.

"Our government has committed to making its decisions based on science-a commitment we have kept," Barisoff said. "By furthering the scientific research into conservation and environmental protection, we'll have the knowledge at hand to make decisions in the best interest of the environment, and our communities."

The $150 million in other environmental spending includes:

* $91 million for the investigation and remediation of contaminated sites on Crown land;

* $5 million to increase the capacity of the Environmental Assessment Office'

* $16 million to increase the number of Park Rangers and Conservation Officers and establish a BC Conservation Corps to provide employment opportunities for students;

* $30 million to support land use planning activities, including the completion and implementation of land and resource management plans; and

* $8 million to implement the Drinking Water Protection Act, including research into the protection of surface and ground water.

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