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Environmental groups set high bar for BC’s new Species at Risk Task Force
BC throne speech hints at long-overdue endangered species law

Jan 29 2010

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MEDIA RELEASE 

Environmental groups set high bar for BC’s new Species at Risk Task Force 

BC throne speech hints at long-overdue endangered species law 

   

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                             August 27, 2009 

 

Vancouver, BC - Environmental groups were greatly encouraged to see the provincial government move forward with their campaign promise of increased protection for species at risk in Monday’s throne speech.  The throne speech heralded the creation of a Species at Risk Task Force charged with suggesting a “new defining vision…that British Columbian’s can work together to achieve…”   

 

“We want to see the BC Species at Risk Task Force follow the Ontario model: it must assess the effectiveness of existing laws at protecting species at risk, and make explicit recommendations about how to improve this legal protection” said Susan Howatt, Director of Campaigns at Sierra Club BC. “BC’s Task Force must be comprised of experts chosen for their knowledge of species recovery and management, legal protection of species and conservation science.” 

 

David Suzuki Foundation, Ecojustice, Sierra Club BC, and the Wilderness Committee have been working collaboratively to get a Species and Ecosystem Protection Law passed in British Columbia to protect at-risk 

species.  An effective law, such as one already in place in Ontario, would be science-based and protect habitat needed by species for survival and recovery.   

 

“Ontario recently delivered North America’s strongest endangered species law by using a highly successful expert advisory panel on species at risk.  If BC is to lead the world on this important file, we need to begin with the Ontario approach that provided such an effective resource to government” said Devon Page, Executive Director of Ecojustice.   

 

The announcement of the Species at Risk Task Force comes at a crucial moment for BC’s globally renowned but increasingly embattled biodiversity.  BC is Canada’s richest province biologically, but already at least 43% of BC’s over 3800 species are at risk of disappearing and strong legal protections are urgently needed.   

 

“Members of our coalition played a seminal role in bringing forth the ground-breaking Endangered Species Act in Ontario”, said Dr. Faisal Moola, Director of the Terrestrial Conservation and Science Program at David Suzuki Foundation.  “We look forward to working closely with the new Species at Risk Task Force to achieve similar success here in British Columbia.”   

 

“Right now BC and Alberta are the only provinces with no endangered species law.  I am looking forward to the day when BC will have the best endangered species legislation in Canada,” said Gwen Barlee, Policy Director with the Wilderness Committee. 

 

For more information, please contact: 

Devon Page, Executive Director, Ecojustice, 778-828-5512 

Susan Howatt, Director of Campaigns, Sierra Club BC, 250 888 6267 

Faisal Moola, Director, Terrestrial Conservation and Science Program, David Suzuki Foundation, 647-993-5788 

Gwen Barlee, Policy Director, Wilderness Committee, 604-202-0322 or 604-683-8220 

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