Forestry lobby group continues to have voice on environmental advisory group

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Jeff Bishop, executive director of Forest Nova Scotia, was one of 12 people named Tuesday to the roundtable on environment and sustainable prosperity.  (CBC - image credit)
Jeff Bishop, executive director of Forest Nova Scotia, was one of 12 people named Tuesday to the roundtable on environment and sustainable prosperity. (CBC - image credit)

A key player behind the forestry industry's successful campaign to strip the Rankin government's Biodiversity Act of its enforcement power is keeping his seat on a provincial body that provides advice on environmental issues.

Jeff Bishop, executive director of Forest Nova Scotia, was one of 12 people named Tuesday to the roundtable on environment and sustainable prosperity. Appointed by the minister of environment, the group "advises on sustainable prosperity in Nova Scotia and conducts a review of the Environmental Goals and Sustainability Prosperity Act every five years."

The act, first passed in 2007, sets goals for the province to achieve prosperity but in a way that safeguards the environment.

NDP MLA Claudia Chender raised concerns about Bishop's appointment, given the campaign Forest Nova Scotia recently organized to change the Biodiversity Act.

"He's not representing the full diversity of that forestry industry," she told members of the standing committee on human resources, which reviews and ratifies ministerial appointments.

The representative for Dartmouth South also raised questions about the campaign Forest Nova Scotia spearheaded against the Biodiversity Act. She called it a "misinformation campaign."

"We see, in terms of environmentalists and non-profits, great representation," said Chender. "We have real climate leaders. People who have a great reputation and will do the yeoman's work there."

As for Bishop, "he's not representing the full diversity of that forestry industry," said Chender, who Monday took part in a marathon sitting of the law amendments committee to hear people, including woodlot owners, speak for and against the Biodiversity Act.

Former Liberal environment minister Gordon Wilson supported Chender's concerns.

"I think those are extremely valid points," he said. "I think that the power in this committee is that there is going to be a full, diverse representation."

Bishop had a seat at the roundtable when it was last constituted. By law, the group meets with the environment minister and with the premier at least once a year.

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