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Nitrates, wind energy among issues raised at UPEI forum

The future of farming continues to be a central issue in Prince Edward Island, with yet another conference to discuss the province's direction on wind energy and environmental issues, among other topics.

November 24, 2008  By The PEI Guardian

November 24, 2008 

Nitrates, wind energy, clear-cutting, transmission lines and the future of farming are at the top of the list of concerns Islanders have when it comes to the environment.

UPEI recently hosted a public forum called State of the Island Environment 2008: Looking Back, Looking Ahead, involving quite a cross-section of speakers. UPEI president Wade MacLauchlan moderated the forum, which included Environment Minister George Webster; Diane Griffin, Nature Conservancy of Canada; Daryl Guignion, a wildlife biologist and retired UPEI professor; and Gary Schneider, Environment Coalition of P.E.I. and Macphail Woods Ecological Forestry Project.


The forum attracted more than 200 people.

Don Mazer, the former co-ordinator of the Environmental Studies program at UPEI, helped launch forums like this one eight years ago.

“The aim of the forum is to bring together a diverse panel of people from environmental organizations and government agencies to discuss important local environmental issues that have included water quality, waste and GMOs,’’ Mazer said.

Nitrates were identified as a big concern. The forum heard drinking water with high nitrate counts can harm human health, not to mention the effect runoff has in the estuaries, depriving fish of precious oxygen. The general consensus was that the Island has to focus on the nitrate problem and get it under control, even if benefits won’t be seen for years.

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