Since 1974, West Coast Environmental Law Association (WCELA) has provided legal services to members of the public who are concerned about threats to the environment. WCELA and the West Coast Environmental Law Research Foundation provide legal representation, promote law reform, provide legal education, conduct legal research and maintain a library of environmental legal materials.
WCELA advocates pollution prevention as the preferred approach to dealing with environmental contamination. For many years we have supported the development of a long term pollution prevention strategy for British Columbia, combining strict law enforcement for environmental polluters with economic incentives to encourage polluters not to pollute in the first place. [(1) -- 1. For example, see Preventing Toxic Pollution: Toward a British Columbia Strategy, West Coast Environmental Law Research Foundation, 1991, which outlines a pollution prevention strategy for B.C.] We strongly support provincial legislation to provide the sound legal basis for a comprehensive pollution prevention strategy for British Columbia. Further, new environmental protection legislation has long been needed to replace the existing Waste Management Act and to provide an explicit change in focus from end-of-pipe waste management to pollution prevention.
We have participated extensively in the consultation processes for the development of the British Columbia Environmental Protection Act (the Act), including the advisory committee and a number of subcommittees dealing with specific topics. Our comments below are in addition to those provided, both orally and in writing, during these consultation processes.
Our recommendations in this brief arise from our review of the draft Act dated June 30, 1994. We appreciate the opportunity to comment on the draft Act and look forward to reviewing the revised Act in the near future.