Minister Lunn Announces $39.6 Million for Next Phase of Mountain Pine Beetle Response
VICTORIA, B.C. - The Honourable Gary Lunn, Minister of Natural Resources, today announced Canada’s New Government is investing $39.6 million for ongoing work with the province and communities to address the mountain pine beetle infestation in British Columbia. Highlighting the collaboration between the federal and provincial governments in responding to the impacts of the beetle, the Honourable Murray Coell, British Columbia Minister of Advanced Education, joined Minister Lunn for today’s announcement at the Pacific Forestry Centre in Victoria.
“This infestation is changing the landscape of this province, physically and economically,” said Minister Lunn. “Earlier this year, our Government committed $200 million to complement and support the efforts of the province and local communities to fight the spread of the beetle, protect communities and address the long-term impacts of the infestation. I am pleased to announce the delivery of the next instalment of that commitment today.”
Today’s announcement includes the following:
$26 million to be provided through Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) this year for efforts to control the spread of the beetle;
a further $6.5 million from NRCan this year for actions to protect communities, including First Nations communities, and forest resources from wildfire threats in the zone affected by beetles;
$6 million to be invested in geoscience projects over the next two years to encourage new economic activity in energy and mineral resource exploration by the private sector; and
$1.1 million this year to support the development of options for recovering the economic value from timber killed by beetles.
“These investments will help us meet the objectives in B.C.’s Mountain Pine Beetle Action Plan, which is backed by nearly $500 million in provincial funding,” said the Honourable Rich Coleman, British Columbia Minister of Forests and Range.
“On behalf of the provincial government, I would like to thank the federal government for its commitment today as well as for its ongoing support,” added Minister Coell. “Together we are helping to build stronger communities in impacted areas of British Columbia.”
The Government of Canada announced the Mountain Pine Beetle Program in January 2007, pledging a total of $200 million to support a comprehensive response to the infestation and its consequences. To date, the Government has allocated $64.4 million of the funds committed. Additional specific funding allocations, including support for transportation infrastructure and economic diversification projects to meet the needs of affected communities, will be announced in the coming months. More information on the Mountain Pine Beetle program is available at http://mpb.cfs.nrcan.gc.ca/index_e.html
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