Earthroots echoes Environmental Commissioner’s call to protect Moraine water and safeguard threatened wolves
- Published on Tuesday, 29 November 2011 16:08
Toronto - Today Environmental Commissioner Gord Miller released his annual report, “Engaging Solutions”, a critical assessment of the Ontario Liberal government’s environmental policies and practices. The commissioner outlines multiple areas where the province is failing to take effective action on pressing environmental problems. Earthroots applauds the commissioner’s report, as it tackles a spectrum of environmental issues, ranging from waste diversion to concerns with the Endangered Species Act, and regulatory loopholes in land use planning - both in southern and northern Ontario.
“It is critical that our government upholds the objectives of the Endangered Species Act and the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act, by placing a ban on sport hunting and non-aboriginal trapping of Eastern wolves in provincial parks and protected areas,” said Amber Ellis, Earthroots Executive Director. “We need our government to take immediate measures to protect wolves - this means going back to the drawing board, and reviewing its Strategy for Wolf Conservation, as most of the key principles in the strategy have yet to be fulfilled.”
The Eastern wolf, an iconic Canadian species, is one of the only threatened species that can be legally sport hunted in Ontario’s protected areas. Commissioner Miller builds on this point in his report, stating that, “the ECO believes that – except for the traditional activities of First nations and Aboriginal peoples – it is inappropriate to allow the harvesting of species at risk in any protected area, whether it is a provincial park or conservation reserve.” (p.41)
The report also details problems with regulatory loopholes in the law created to protect the Oak Ridges Moraine, a direct source of drinking water for over a quarter million people.
“While the Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan is one of the strongest environmental policies introduced in Ontario, there are serious gaps and deficiencies that threaten the quality and quantity of groundwater in southern Ontario,” remarks Earthroots Senior Campaigner, Josh Garfinkel.
“We have seen examples of development applications proposing to divert water from ‘protected’ moraine aquifers, to service developments several kilometers off the moraine - in areas where there is no existing infrastructure to support it. Ultimately, the plan is failing to provide strong protection for the moraine’s vital aquifers, as the protection in its current framework does not apply to development outside the plan area,” adds Garfinkel.
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