04 October 2017 0 Comments Posted By : Nelson Bennett

Professional reliance model under review

When drinking water from the Hullcar aquifer near Armstrong became too polluted to drink, and a nearby dairy farmer was required to pay for a soil test to determine if the pollution was coming from manure, local residents were astounded when the government refused to release the findings of that study.

The B.C. government claimed releasing the information would be a violation of copyright law, since the dairy farmer who paid for the study owned the information.

The Hullcar aquifer controversy wasn’t just one of the more egregious examples B.C.’s weak freedom of information laws, it was also an example of what is wrong with the professional reliance model that B.C. uses for things like permitting.

The collapse of the Mount Polley tailings pond in 2014 also highlighted concerns with the professional reliance model, which requires private companies to hire and pay biologists, archaeologists, engineers, geoscientists and environmental scientists to conduct environmental, engineering and harvesting studies.

That model is now under review. The outcome could have wide-ranging implications for resource extraction industries, including mining, oil and gas and forestry.

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