Government is tabling legislation that would help establish more rigorous environmental monitoring, open up access to data and assure independent and transparent science.
Bill 18, An Act to Ensure Independent Environmental Monitoring, would officially move the environmental monitoring, evaluation and reporting functions once led by the Alberta Environmental Monitoring Evaluation and Reporting Agency (AEMERA) back into government.
“The decision to return the core function of environmental monitoring to government is about ensuring scientific credibility for environmental monitoring and a more efficient system that is fully accountable to Albertans. This legislation puts us well on our way to stronger monitoring, better reporting and the right governance model in place.”
The legislation would establish the position of the Chief Scientist. It outlines the responsibilities of this role to ensure sound scientific practice and to report the findings of environmental monitoring regularly to the public.
Bill 18 also requires the Minister to establish a Science Advisory Panel to provide advice to the Chief Scientist, conduct independent assessment and evaluate the performance of the overall program. The Science Advisory Panel members are experts in their field and are able report directly to the public on their assessment of the government’s environmental science program.
The Minister will also be required to establish an Indigenous Wisdom Advisory Panel to ensure traditional ecological knowledge is incorporated into the environmental science program. These panels were previously established by AEMERA and will be continued.