Environmental group gives award to Pictou Landing, provincial government

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An environmental group recognized the recent breakthrough in talks between Pictou Landing First Nations and the province.

At the Ecology Action Centre (EAC) annual general meeting, the Sunshine Award was awarded to Pictou Landing First Nation and the Nova Scotia Government.

“We wanted to recognize what we see as a positive attitude and commitment by all parties to resolve what is arguably the worst toxic site in Nova Scotia,” said Jocelyne Rankin, EAC’s water co-ordinator. “The commendation only holds if the government and Northern Pulp follow through on their promise to provide a treatment facility and remediate Boat Harbour.”

The award, given out annually since the 1970s, was established to recognize the efforts of an individual or group to protect Nova Scotia’s environment. In contrast, the Tarred Duck Award draws attention to environmental violations or promotion of economic development without consideration of the environment and sustainability.

This year’s winner was the federal government for, according to the EAC, its instructions to all government scientists including meteorologists not to discuss climate change with the media or public.

“It is bad public policy not to allow government scientists, who are the experts, to speak on this hugely important topic,” said Catherine Abreu, EAC’s energy co-ordinator.

The EAC said Aquabounty Canada Inc. was a close second for the Tarred Duck Award for its plans to commercialize transgenic salmon containing the genetic material of two other species.

Another award, the Tooker Gomberg award, was created in 2004 to honour the work of Gomberg, an environmental activist who used novel and innovative approaches to raise awareness about environmental issues. The winner this year is the coalition NOFRAC.

“NOFRAC is ensuring that the backbone of the provincial review of fracking is science, and is helping to keep the public informed about opportunities to participate in the review,” said Jennifer West, geoscience co-ordinator at EAC.

The centre created the Bubby Mooers award to recognize the efforts of one of the EAC’s 250 volunteers. Bubby Mooers from Brooklyn was a carpenter and well known for his exceptional folk art. This year’s winner was Jess Metter who was EAC’s archivist and board secretary as well as an individual whom staff and board members relied on and greatly respected. Jess died of cancer on May 18, 2014.

“Jess Metter brought so much to the organization both in terms of the work she did and in the values she held,” said Maggy Burns, managing director. “I will miss her greatly.”

Organizations: Ecology Action Centre, Nova Scotia Government, Aquabounty Canada

Geographic location: Nova Scotia, Boat Harbour, Brooklyn

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