The Environment Conservation Authority 1970-1977: an assessment and analysis
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AbstractThis study has two distinct objectives. It examines public consultation in environmental issues in Canada during the 1960's and 1970's. The information learned after completion of the first objective is then used to make an assessment and analysis of the Environment Conservation Authority of Alberta 1970-1977. The Authority was an environmental advisory council at the provincial level. This study compares the Authority to other environmental advisory bodies created by Canadian governments between 1970 and 1975. Although all were created to give advice on environmental matters, great diversity was found among them. In a matrix, seven benchmarks were used for advisory body comparison. These were: 1) membership 2) functions 3) public hearings 4) budget 5) staff - 6) publications 7) chairmen. This study shows the Authority was created in 1970 in apparent response to: 1) a government losing voter support 2) a concerned public 3) a recommendation from an advisory body 4) the interest of the Minister of Health. The 1972 and 1977 amendments to the Environment Conservation Act, 1970, changed the Authority from an independent body to an advisory body placed under the Minister of Environment. This new body was called the Environment Council of Alberta. The reasons for these structural changes are believed to be in the interests of efficiency, the desire to eliminate conflicts between the Authority and government departments and agencies, and the lack of need for an independent ombudsman type environmental agency. The Environment Conservation Act, 19?0, reveals a broad mandate for the Authority allowing it to become an environmental advocate. The legislation allowed the Authority to investigate and write reports, to hold public . hearings, to appoint public advisory committees, maintain an information distribution system, to request information and assistance from civil servants, to have corporate status, and to report directly to the Lieutenant Governor in Council. The Authority's performance as a vehicle for public consultation is assessed. Major conclusions reached are: 1) The Authority's public hearings were both accessible and 2) educational. While the Authority's final report and recommendations from public hearings included public input, the Authority members tried to balance public concern with tech no logical facts. 3) Four government decisions are examined to evaluate the amount of input Authority recommendations may have had on those decisions. The evaluation reveals that the authority influenced three of the four decisions although the degree of 4) influence was not always clear. Authority public advisory committees (PAC) had a broad membership from Alberta interest groups. Membership on PAC provided environmental educational opportunities. PAC's study groups might have been more productive with better organization. PAC's writing, research and use of the resolution could also have been improved.
Bibliography: p. 208-261.
CitationVuchnich, A. C. (1980). The Environment Conservation Authority 1970-1977: an assessment and analysis (Unpublished master's thesis). University of Calgary, Calgary, AB. doi:10.11575/PRISM/16398
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