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Happy Summer from East Coast Environmental Law! The past month has been an exciting time for ECELAW with some promising developments in and discussions on the future of environmental rights and environmental law in Atlantic Canada. 

In the past month ECELAW has been busy working on:

  • Continuing to fight for the right to a healthy environment,
  • Expanding our network by making connections at a Canadian Environmental Grantmakers’ Network conference in Fredericton,
  • Hosting public events and speaker series with the Sierra Club Canada Foundation and the Ecology Action Centre,
  • Growing our staff by hiring our first-ever Articled Clerk and three summer students, and
  • Sending our new Articled Clerk to Ottawa to attend the Oceans 20 – Oceans Act Workshop and to connect with multiple stakeholders in marine conservation and protection. 
CEPA Review and Updates on the Right to a Healthy Environment
Here at ECELAW we are still working hard to ensure that Atlantic Canadians have legal rights to a healthy environment. In April, the Nova Scotia Environmental Rights Working Group launched a draft Environmental Bill of Rights for Nova Scotia, which calls for the recognition that everyone in the province should have legal access to a healthy environment. The Bill also expresses the unique concerns of traditionally marginalized or vulnerable groups in relation to Environmental Justice. As we celebrate this impressive achievement, we continue to work with Environmental Rights Working Groups in New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island, and we are excited to see what those collaborations produce.
June saw a review of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA) by the House of Commons Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development, which recommended that CEPA’s Preamble should state explicitly that Canadians have a right to a healthy environment, and that legislation in Canada should reflect that right. These recommendations align with ECELAW’s work across Atlantic Canada to fight for environmental rights and environmental justice, and we look forward to seeing how the panel’s recommendations are addressed.
Expanding Networks and Making Connections at the Canadian Environmental Grantmakers’ Network Conference in Fredericton
In early June, Lisa Mitchell, ECELAW’s Executive Director and Senior Lawyer, attended a Canadian Environmental Grantmakers’ Network conference in Fredericton, New Brunswick. This was a great opportunity to spread ECELAW’s message and make connections with a variety of environmental organizations and individuals working in the field. 
Strengthening Local Connections and Engaging the Public with Panel Events and Speaker Series
In June, ECELAW worked with the Sierra Club Canada Foundation and the Ecology Action Center to present panel discussions and speaker series on environmental issues that directly affect Nova Scotians. With the Sierra Club Canada Foundation, we hosted an engaging and timely discussion on Digby Quarry and the environmental implications of international trade agreements like NAFTA. When the Ecology Action Centre wrapped up its six-part speaker series on a carbon cap-and-trade system for Nova Scotia, Lisa Mitchell was there to introduce the speakers, provide an overview of the conversation to date, and moderate the discussion throughout the evening.
These discussions helped us to strengthen our connections with other environmental groups in the area and to engage the public on issues that matter to all of us. 
Growing Our Staff
Thanks to funding from the Canada Summer Jobs program and the Schulich School of Law at Dalhousie University, ECELAW has been able to host three law students this summer, all of whom share an enthusiasm for and commitment to environmental issues. 
This summer, we also hired our first-ever Articled Clerk, Mike Kofahl, who has been hard at work responding to the environmental law inquiries that we receive through our legal inquiry service. We are thrilled to bring more environmentally-focused minds into the work that we do and to strengthen our capacity to meet public needs
Fishing for Ideas: The Oceans 20 – Oceans Act Workshop
This month, ECELAW sent our Articled Clerk, Mike Kofahl, to Ottawa to attend the Oceans 20 – Oceans Act Workshop. The purpose of the conference was to discuss ways to improve Canada’s Oceans Act, which is now 20 years old, with an eye to creating a more effective process for establishing Marine Protected Areas. As a representative of ECELAW and the East Coast, Mike had a great opportunity to build our profile on a national level and to connect with groups from many different backgrounds and sectors. It was also an opportunity for us to gain knowledge and collect information about environmental concerns relating to our coasts and oceans, and we will put that learning to good use as we continue to represent Atlantic Canadians. 
Please head to our website to read more about any of these topics and to keep up with the work that ECELAW will be doing over the summer. 
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About ECELAW: East Coast Environmental Law (ECELAW) is Atlantic Canada’s only public-interest environmental law charity. Our mission is to encourage the development and fair application of innovative and effective environmental laws in Atlantic Canada by increasing public awareness, educating future environmental law professionals and collaborating with the public, stakeholders, and government.
Copyright © 2017 East Coast Environmental Law, All rights reserved.

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