Government responds to environmental concerns

NANAIMO – Auditor general's office guarantees response to environmental petitions within four months.

Citizens or groups concerned about the environment can petition the government and get a response within 120 days.

The Office of the Auditor General of Canada has an environmental petitions process allowing any Canadian resident to submit a petition to ministers of 26 federal departments and agencies.

Those ministers must personally reply to the petition within 120 days, said Mark Lawrence, environmental petitions supervisor in an e-mail to the News Bulletin.

Petitioners can pose questions or concerns relating to environmental or sustainable development issues that fall under federal government authority.

Lawrence said past petitions have covered issues including West Coast oil tanker traffic, salmon farming, fisheries, pollution, climate change, toxic chemicals and fracking shale to extract natural gas.

The petitions are published online, with petitioners’ consent, along with ministerial responses to keep Canadians informed about issues being raised.

The government also offers a downloadable petitions process guide, plus and online video, and an environmental petitions catalogue listing petitions and conducted audits.

To learn more about the environmental petitions process, please visit the Office of the Auditor General of Canada website at www.oag-bvg.gc.ca.