BC Cabinet Shuffle Creates a New Ministry of Natural Resource Operations Separate from Forests, Mines and Lands
Yesterdays cabinet changes separated the policy and administration, research and revenue portfolio of three former ministries (responsible for forests and range; energy, mines and petroleum resources; and agriculture and lands) from their licensing, permitting and operations responsibilities. The newly created Ministry of Forests, Mines and Lands, under Hon. Pat Bell, will be responsible for a broad range of public policy, tenure administration, revenue, market pricing and investment administration and land management initiatives as follows:
- Forest stewardship policy
- Crown land administration policy
- Mines and minerals policy
Another newly created Ministry of Natural Resource Operations, under Hon. Steven Thomson, will be responsible for:
- Crown land allocation and authorizations
The focus of the changes were set out in a news release, in which Premier Gordon Campbell stated that "This new structure will streamline government processes for critical natural resource industries to ensure we can better attract global investment and turn proposed projects and investments into actual worksites and jobs. It enables us to move forward with our federal partners towards establishing a 'one project, one process' model." The combination of the following portfolios is expected to aid this process: Aboriginal consultation and coordination - natural resources operations, fish, wildlife and habitat management, commercial recreation and archaeology, Heritage Conservation Act permitting, wildfire management and resource management compliance.
The remaining Ministry of Agriculture will oversee agriculture, acquaculture and food industry development in the province. The Ministry of Energy will be responsible for electricity, oil and gas, and alternative, clean and renewalbe energy development and the Ministry of Environment will carry out the province's climate action, environmental protection, air, land and water quality, parks wilderness and protected areas objectives.