Misconduct, delay by Environmental Approvals branch on Louisiana-Pacific park logging plan

Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Wilderness Committee

Uninstalled culverts sit beside damaged creek in Duck Mountain Provincial Park
Uninstalled culverts sit beside damaged creek in Duck Mountain Provincial Park [Eric Reder]

Formal complaint filed with Manitoba Ombudsman over public registry error and omission 

WINNIPEG / TREATY 1 TERRITORY AND HOMELAND OF THE MÉTIS NATION — The Wilderness Committee has filed a complaint with the Manitoba Ombudsman over inaccurate implementation of The Environment Act and a lack of response by the Environment and Climate Change Minister regarding Louisiana-Pacific’s park logging licence. 

An Environment Officer claimed the Manitoba Duck Mountain Region Audit, published by the Wilderness Committee, could not be filed in the public registry for Louisiana-Pacific’s  environment act license because it was submitted to the government outside the public comment period. That is factually inaccurate, as section 17(g) of The Environment Act states information can be posted to the public registry at the discretion of the Director of Environmental Approvals or the Environment and Climate Change Minister. Our repeated requests to the director, the Minister’s office and the Premier’s office over several weeks have gone unanswered. 

“Having a civil servant randomly decide how to apply laws in Manitoba is bad, but the situation becomes worse when a mistake is brought to the government’s attention and the authorizing ministries fail to correct the error,” said Wilderness and Water Campaigner Eric Reder.

The request to have the Duck Mountain Region Audit accepted for consideration is timely as Louisiana-Pacific’s Environment Act Licence No. 2191 E is before the courts right now. Two First Nations filed legal action against both Louisiana-Pacific and the Manitoba government for not caring for the forests. There is a discrepancy between the health of the Duck Mountain region — which includes Duck Mountain Provincial Park — and what logging companies and the government claim are the impacts of logging. 

“The government’s management of the Duck Mountain region is failing First Nations, defying the rule of law and ignoring forest care,” said Reder. “Manitobans need to see change on all three accounts right now.”

The Duck Mountain Region Audit reveals 40 different violations of logging regulations and policy, all of which are impacting the public lands and waters. The problems documented in the Duck Mountain Region Audit have a bearing on Louisiana-Pacific's Environment Act Licence application. This is the first comprehensive and independent investigation into the impacts of Louisiana-Pacific's logging license since they began operation in this area in 1995. 

This latest incident involving misconduct and The Environment Act shines a light on the failings of this aging legislation. Nearly a decade ago, recommendations were made to update The Environment Act but successive Manitoba governments have failed to act. When it was introduced in 1988, it was one of the nation’s best environmental regulations. Unfortunately, it has not been updated to reflect the scientific understanding of cumulative impacts, nor the growing international calls to preserve climate and biodiversity. The Wilderness Committee continues to call for a stronger Environment Act. 

“Every business trying to get an Environment Act license approved will do so under a shadow of suspicion until The Environment Act is fixed,” said Reder.

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Screen shot of the email exchange with Environmental Approvals branch and other government officials.

For more information please contact: 

Eric Reder | Wilderness Committee 
204-997-8584, eric@wildernesscommittee.org

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The sun shining through trees in Duck Mountain Provincial Park
The sun shining through trees in Duck Mountain Provincial Park [Eric Reder]
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A yellow canoe sits on the lower Bird River during a foggy sunrise
A yellow canoe sits on the lower Bird River during a foggy sunrise [Eric Reder]