Passing laws promoting the rigorous application of the mitigation hierarchy is seen by many as a necessary step toward the broad uptake of compensation measures needed to achieve no net loss of biodiversity. But environmental policies, regulations and guidelines are ultimately only as effective as their application, implementation and enforcement. Environmental trading programs are seen as promising tools for fostering sustainable development, yet how front-line decision makers and regulators use their discretion to apply regulations or guidelines has been studied relatively little.
Shari Clare, PhD, PBiol, Sr. Biologist and Owner of Fiera Biological Consulting Ltd., Adjunct Professor in the Faculty of Agriculture, Life and Environmental Science at the University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, has studied this issue in the context of wetlands in Alberta. In this webinar she’ll present the findings from her doctoral research examining wetland policy implantation in Alberta, as well as share thoughts on recent policy developments.
This webinar will describe how front-line decision makers in Alberta, Canada use their discretion to make wetland compensation decisions, and how this discretion can lead to “bureaucratic slippage” and failure in the implementation of government policy and guidelines. The relationship between bureaucratic slippage and agency capture will also be described, and the mechanisms that operate to produce agency capture in this case study will be discussed to show how agency design and culture contribute to incremental regulatory decisions that tend to favor regulated parties. These experiences in Alberta suggest that greater attention must be given to agency context if environmental trading programs are to be effective tools for managing environmental resources.