Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Greens Join Forces With Liberals and Environmental Groups Against NDP’s Plan For Mining In Provincial Parks

GPM
"The idea of a peat mine inside a provincial park is simply sickening,” says Beddome
(January 10, 2012)
WINNIPEG – Green Party Leader James Beddome, joined by Liberal Leader Jon Gerrard, Manitoba Wildlands Director Gaile Whelan Enns, and Wilderness Committee Campaign Director Eric Reder spoke out against the NDP allowance of peat mining in provincial parks today at the Manitoba Legislature.  The Hecla/Grindstone Provincial Park, adjacent to Lake Winnipeg, may be home to a 531-hectare peat mine if an Environment Act license is granted. 
“Regulations are urgently needed to allow continued, and environmentally sustainable, harvesting of peat for gardens and related purposes,” says Gerrard.  “While there is a place for peat harvesting in Manitoba, there is no place for mining in provincial parks.”
Beddome added that a provincial compost strategy is also needed, because compost can be used as a replacement for peat in gardens.
“Using compost and other alternatives, rather than peat whenever possible, would reduce the need for peat mining, thereby reducing the associated damage and emissions caused by peat mining, while also reducing greenhouse gas emissions from landfills,” said Beddome. 
The NDP have had 12 years to develop a peat land management strategy and regulations.  Instead, they have issued a temporary moratorium on peat mining in Manitoba.  Even with the moratorium, a loophole is allowing the NDP to permit new peat mines -- including in provincial parks.  Environmental groups see this as a tactic to get around the moratorium legislated in 2011 and for the NDP to collect revenue through new peat leases and mines, including in parks. 
“The NDP moratorium is in fact not a moratorium, as there are more than 200 pending and granted peat leases in Manitoba right now,” adds Gaile Whelan Enns, with Manitoba Wildlands.  “Rather, it is part of a twisted pattern of the NDP saying they have a moratorium and doing the opposite. This is no way to manage our province.” 
“Peat is a vital tool to preserve the health of our waterways and the temperature of our planet,” says James Beddome.  “Provincial parks are intended to preserve natural landscapes, not to serve as places of industrial development. The idea of a peat mine inside a provincial park is simply sickening.”
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For more information, please contact:
Caitlin McIntyre,
Green Party of Manitoba Press Secretary
204-990-4064
Please also read: "Peat Mines Comment Period Extended."

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