Special wetland protection trust, along with new ten per cent ethanol and five per cent biodiesel mandates, demonstrate commitment to a cleaner, greener Manitoba and a healthier Lake Winnipeg: Pallister
A re-elected Progressive Conservative government will invest a total of $204 million in natural infrastructure and the protection of wetlands to help preserve watershed habitats and improve water quality in Lake Winnipeg, Manitoba PC Leader Brian Pallister announced today.
“Manitobans are conservationists at heart,” said Pallister. “We believe in strong environmental stewardship that protects our natural environment for future generations.”
A re-elected PC government will invest an additional $50 million in the Growing Outcomes in Watersheds (GROW) trust fund, in addition to the $154 million already invested in the Conservation Trust and in the GROW trust fund earlier this spring. Both funds together – worth just over $200 million – will provide stable and perpetual funding for the country’s most comprehensive green stewardship programs.
Earnings from the GROW trust will provide incentives to landowners who agree to conserve natural areas on their farms. The GROW trust will complement the regulatory protection of seasonal, semi-permanent and permanent wetlands to be passed under the Sustainable Watersheds Act, passed by the PC government in 2018. The GROW trust will also complement the Conservation Trust, which provides matching funds to non-profit organizations for conservation projects.
Protecting Manitoba’s wetlands, the kidneys of our watersheds, is critical to the environmental health of our province. A study by the International Institute for Sustainable Development and Intact Insurance shows that filtering water through wetlands can reduce nutrients in streams and rivers by 50 per cent. This will significantly improve the health of Lake Winnipeg while contributing to healthy fish and wildlife populations and carbon storage.
Pallister also announced that a re-elected PC government will set the country’s highest biofuel requirements to reduce carbon emissions in Manitoba.
“Our climate and green plan is the best in Canada and now we will have the highest biofuel standards in the country,” said Pallister. “This directly benefits local canola growers and oilseed crushers who will supply the biofuels to help reduce emissions.”
A re-elected PC government will increase the ethanol requirement to ten per cent and the biodiesel requirement to five per cent of fuels in 2020. By displacing fossil fuels, these measures will reduce emissions by 375,000 tonnes over three years. This is the equivalent of taking 75,000 cars off the road or planting 25 million trees. Manitoba’s Climate and Green Plan Expert Advisory Council recommended higher biofuel mandates in June 2019.
An increase to the biodiesel mandate from two per cent to five per cent is expected to increase market demand of biodiesel from 27 million litres currently to 72 million litres per year, and ethanol consumption by 26 million litres to 176 million litres per year. These fuels will be based on agricultural products such as corn or canola, grown right here in Manitoba.
“This is win-win-win,” said Pallister. “A win for the environment, a win for the economy, and a win for Manitoba jobs and our agriculture sector.”
“Wab Kinew’s plan for the environment is a high and rising carbon tax. The NDP failed to reduce carbon emissions by a single tonne when they were in government. Now, Kinew wants to impose a dangerously high carbon tax of sixty cents per litre on Manitoban families and businesses that would hurt jobs and our economy. Wab Kinew is a risk Manitobans can’t afford,” Pallister added.