Former teeplanter and silvicultural contractor Joyce Murray is now the new BC Minister of Water, Land, and Air Protection.

Former Treeplanter Heads New BC Environment Ministry

A former treeplanter and silvicultural contractor will head one of British Columbia¹s major environment ministries following the announcement of Premier Gordon Campbell¹s new Cabinet. Joyce Murray co-founder of Brinkman and Associates Reforestation Ltd., one of the largest silvicultural firms in Canada, is now the Minister of Water, Land and Air Protection. Murray won her seat in the Legislature representing the riding of New Westminster by defeating NDP Attorney General Graeme Bowbrick in a BC Liberal landslide victory last month.

Murray, 46, has worked in the silvicultural industry for 25 years and in 1993 won the Dean¹s Convocation Medal for graduate studies in business administration at Simon Fraser University. She is the author of a thesis on forestry and global warming that is still widely read. Murray has also worked extensively with the Western Silvicultural Contractors¹ Association as a strategic consultant.

As a novice politician the new minister will occupy a conspicuous policy nexus reviewing many resource initiatives likely to be undertaken by the new Liberal government. Conservation groups have been skeptical of the appointment saying Murray¹s choice indicates a low priority for environmental issues. However, they may be underestimating the new minister who is known for her acute analytical skills and her commitment to making business a leader and role model in environmental issues.

Murray¹s new agency will replace the old ministry of Environment, Lands and Parks. Another new ministry headed by Stan Hagen Minister of Sustainable Resource Development will assume some environmental responsibilities as well. Some wags have taken to referring to Murray¹s Cabinet position as the ministry of earth wind and fire. However the portfolio is not light weight. Minister Murray¹s purview includes:

Ministry of Water, Land and Air Protection with these general responsibilities (pulled from

– Green Economy Initiative

– Air, land and water pollution control

– Fish and wildlife habitat and species protection

– Recreational fish and wildlife management

– Environmental emergencies

– Parks, recreation and protected areas

– Wildlife branch

– Flood plain management

– Major Boards and Commissions

– Environmental Appeal Board

– Creston Valley Authority

– Habitat Conservation Trust

Ministry of Sustainable Resource Management with these general responsibilities (pulled from

– Crown land policy

– Protected areas strategy

– Tenure registries

– Resource inventory

– Archaeology

– Survey, mapping and data base management

– Land and water use planning and zoning

– Water allocation and licensing

– Environmental assessment project impact analysis

– Water rights

– Major Crown right of ways

– Land titles

– Aboriginal land resources

– Heritage rivers

– Land Use Coordination Office

– Major Boards and Commissions

– BC Assessment Authority

– BC Assets and Land Corporation

– Land Reserve Commission

– Fraser Basin Management Council

– Environmental Assessment Board

– Environmental Assessment Office

– BC Heritage Rivers Board

– Muskwa Kechika Advisory Board

To quote the press release:

“The government is also committed to ensuring the strongest environmental protection while delivering a fair, efficient process for land-use approvals. The Ministry of Water, Land and Air Protection is responsible for environmental protection. The Ministry of Sustainable Resource Management brings together all information, planning and approval processes related to land-use decisions under a single portfolio. This integrated process for land-use decisions will help strengthen investment and job creation while ensuring strong environmental protection.”

The Ministry of Forests still exists with the following general responsibilities (pulled from

– Forests management

– Harvest management

– Reforestation

– Pest control

– Fire protection

– Range land

– Forest research

– Forest Practices Code

– Tenure administration

– Timber pricing

– Annual allowable cut

– Value added development

– Forestry Small Business Program

– Major Boards and Commissions

– Forest Appeals Commission

– Forest Practices Board

– Forest Renewal BC