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Environment and Economic Development – Keith Robson, VP Policy

Posted on July 14, 2014

If anyone needed a reminder about the need to protect our environment to preserve economic development over the longer term, the recent flooding in Manitoba and Saskatchewan is just that.
The Globe and Mail reported this week on the impact of not preserving wetlands/ponds and not improving drainage of agricultural land. With out understanding or caring, the result will be dramatic floods that have already had severe economic consequences and are likely to have further consequences. The report notes that if the same amount of rain that fell this year had fallen in the 1950s, the Assiniboine River might have reached only half of its current peak level.
Looking at a specific area using airborne lasers, the scientists produced a detailed model that demonstrated that if the flooding of 2011 had occurred in 1958 it would have resulted in a peak flow 32% less. With recent severe weather events appearing to be more common , more frequent flooding can be expected. Creating more land for agricultural use by improved drainage is not going to be of much benefit if the fields get flooded every two or three years as a result. As well, fertilizers washed downstream adversely affect aquatic life which has a severe impact on native populations and the recreational opportunities for city dwellers in the region.
This report demonstrates the need for policy based on proper scientific research and evidence, not myths and ideology. We need more government funding of scientific research not less so that decision- making is based on objective research and not on research funded by special interests.
The debate over Neonicotinoids is another case in point where the future of many crops is dependent on bee pollination. It took a long time for bans on the usage of DDT to be accepted, but the world has moved on. There is no excuse for not limiting the use of Neonicotinoids while the necessary research takes place to determine the extent of its impact on bee populations.
Not doing this will result in severe economic as well as social consequences.
Keith Robson, VP Policy, HWAD-FLA

Keith Robson, VP Policy, HWAD-FLA