March 30, 2006

BC Asks Public to Report Poachers, Polluters

From a BC Environment Ministry press release:

New highway signs, a website and a toll-free hotline for the public to report poachers and polluters were approved by Environment Minister Barry Penner, who is attending the 50th Annual Meeting of the BC Wildlife Federation (BCWF) today in Penticton.

?The Conservation Officer Service is seeking the public?s help in catching people who break our environmental laws,? said Penner. ?The Report All Poachers and Polluters (RAPP) signs and free hotline give the public an opportunity to help protect our environment ? anonymously and without risk of confronting the offender.?

The public can report violators 24 hours a day, seven days a week by visiting www.rapp.bc.ca or by calling 1-877-952-RAPP (7277). The new signs, which are scheduled to be installed starting in June, will help get the message out to the public. They will also be easy to use for cell phone users by dialing #RAPP.

?We?re hiring more conservation officers this year, but the public and local communities can also help us stop environmental violations,? said Penner. ?Polluters are dangerous to our environment, our health and the economy. The water we drink, the air we breathe and the foods we eat all come from the environment and we need the public?s eyes, ears and good judgment to report known or suspected violators.?

Under the B.C. Environmental Management Act, polluters can face a maximum $1-million fine and six months in jail. Under the B.C. Wildlife Act, a poacher can face a maximum $100,000 fine and one year in jail for a first offence. Illegally taking fish or damaging fish habitat has a maximum penalty of $1 million under the Canada Fisheries Act.

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I commend this step, though of course the bottom line will be enforcement. It's easy to make feel-good anouncements, it's another to follow through. Here's hoping...

Posted by Paul at March 30, 2006 05:49 PM