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“Revolutionary” environmental legislation two years overdue for renewal

The Environmental Goals and Sustainable Prosperity Act was first introduced in 2007

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caption Nova Scotia Environment Minister Margaret Miller spoke to reporters at a scrum on Thursday.
Carly Churchill

The legislation that sets environmental goals for Nova Scotia is overdue for renewal.

The Environmental Goals and Sustainable Prosperity Act, which first became law in spring 2007, sets environmental targets for the province. This includes greenhouse gas reduction, land preservation and renewable energy targets.

In an email, communications advisor Adèle Poirier said Nova Scotia has met some of the goals outlined in the act. It’s reduced carbon emissions by 10 per cent in 2014, putting it below 1990 levels. Further, the province met a national goal of reducing emissions by 30 per cent below 2005 levels in 2016.

The act was last amended in 2012.  “It’s a very extensive act. We’re actually working with our panel and we should have something, I would hope, in the near future,” Nova Scotia Environment Minister Margaret Miller said.

Even though the act hasn’t been renewed, Poirier said the next big goal is to have greenhouse gas emissions by 45 to 50 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030.

Meghan McMorris, community energy coordinator with the Ecology Action Centre, said the group has been working with the government to get the legislation renewed.

“We think there’s a lot of room to set some really strong greenhouse gas reduction targets, as well as clean energy targets,” McMorris said. “The more we can reduce, and the faster we can reduce it, in a just and inclusive way, the better.”

She said the act is “revolutionary,” as there is little legislation elsewhere that is similar. She said that along with the act, cap-and-trade and coal equivalency agreements and efficient energy investments can be used as “tools in the toolkit” to meet environmental goals.

McMorris doesn’t think Nova Scotia should stop there, though.

“It’s something Nova Scotia should be very proud of, and is very proud of … why stop being a leader now?”

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