Activities and Programs Currently Undertaken by West Coast Environmental Law Association (WCELA) that Contribute to the Goals of the Fraser Basin Management Program Agreement.
Since 1974 the West Coast Environmental Law Association (WCELA) and since 1977 the West Coast Environmental Law Research Foundation (WCELRF) have provided legal services to promote protection of the environment and public participation in environmental decision-making in British Columbia. WCELA/RF started as a summer legal aid project. It is now a full service public interest law organization, doing legal aid, law reform, legal research, legal education and maintaining a reference library of environmental legal materials.
WCELA has three core staff lawyers and three core office staff members. There are usually one or two lawyers working on project contracts, one or two students, and five to ten volunteers working at WCELA. The membership of WCELA includes lawyers, environmentally concerned citizens, environmental professionals and others. A Board of Directors meets bimonthly to support WCELA's work.
WCELA and its sister organization the West Coast Environmental Law Research Foundation (WCELRF) have both legal and environmental strategic objectives.
The legal strategic objectives are to:
- broaden legal standing and legal rights to obtain remedies to protect the environment
- ensure timely and efficient access to environmental information
- improve the legal and administrative procedures for developing environmental standards, assessing environmental impact, and conducting land use planning
- foster the adoption of enforceable standards and other legal tools to protect the environment
- ensure compliance with environmental standards
- promote alternative methods of resolving environmental disputes
- strengthen mechanisms for implementing the polluter pays principle, for example, that the environmental costs of activities are borne by those who conduct such activities, and
- promote ways to facilitate environmentally responsible purchasing practices.
The organizations' environmental strategic objectives are to:
- protect the quality, quantity and timing of flow of water
- prevent damage to our air, atmosphere or climate
- prevent toxic contamination, and identify, contain and properly deal with existing toxic contamination
- promote environmentally sustainable activities that foster biological diversity and habitat, and safeguard wilderness and environmentally sensitive areas, and
- promote conservation of energy.