Published on February 19, 2014
Biodiversity Offsets in BC: Provincial Policy Success and Challenges Environmental Mitigation Policy - Drivers and intent General Principles: Offsets Trial Application - Success - Challenges Moving Forward Jennifer Psyllakis BC Ministry of Environment
Environmental Mitigation Policy: Drivers Lack of consistent standards leading to variation in the way environmental impacts are addressed Greater interest in, and lack of awareness of, financial & other tools to support environmental mitigation Need for greater consistency and transparency for mitigation planning 2
Environmental Mitigation Policy: Intent Policy and Procedures to ensure consistent approach to the application of mitigation. Fits within existing legislative framework & supports existing processes. Voluntary application Decision-support tool Avoid Minimize Restore On-Site Offset
General Principles: Offsets Offsets deliver tangible, measurable, on-the-ground outcomes. Outcomes are additional to what otherwise would be achieved through existing natural resource management programs or activities. Amount of offsetting increases in accordance with the degree of uncertainty of the effectiveness of the offset measure(s), the risk to the environmental component or both. Offsetting measures will be designed to obtain the best result for environmental component in the shortest timeframe practicable, considering the effort and resources expended.
General Principles: Offsets Offsetting funds will include the full costs of implementation for the duration of the offset. Offsetting measures will be designed to obtain the best result for environmental component in the shortest timeframe practicable, considering the effort and resources expended. Offsets need to be legally secured for the duration of the offset commitment. All offsetting-related costs are the responsibility of the proponent whose project or activity results in the adverse impact.
Trial Application: Successes Greater transparency – Decision points (and gaps) clearly articulated – Mitigation, including offsets, directly linked to impacts – Clarified approaches to offsetting – Improved staff/proponent understanding, particularly for agreement on financial offsets – Overall approach to mitigation rationalized
Trial Application: Successes Consistency – Mitigation plan template – Impact assessment workbook Accountability – Specific commitments to outcomes – Clarified responsibilities for implementing Resolved decision barriers – e.g., tool to support accommodation of FN treaty rights
Trial Application: Challenges Legal authority to conduct mitigation measures off permitted areas. Financial Agreements. Clarifying additionality. Lack of strategies and objectives. Ensuring mitigation measures stay in place. Definition of offset / ensuring links to intended outcomes
Moving Forward Focus on challenges Continued engagement with stakeholders and First Nations Training and extension Strategic approaches Governance frameworks Partnerships
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