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Core Environmental Principles for Environmental Laws,

The Environmental Law Centre recognizes that the environment is a public good that must be protected. The Environmental Law Centre’s Strategic Plan 2012-2015 references several core environmental principles that are required for strong and effective environmental laws, policies and legal processes. These core principles are:

  • sustainability,
  • precautionary principle,
  • pollution prevention,
  • polluter pays,
  • cumulative impacts,
  • intergenerational equity and
  • public participation.

In addition to these core environmental principles, environmental laws, policies and processes must be:

  • constantly improving
  • reflect and contribute to evidence based best practices
  • open, transparent and accountable

This document provides definitions of the core environmental principles that have been adopted by the ELC in its strategic plan. As well, there is a brief survey of case-law and statutes (federal and Alberta) that have referenced the core environmental principles. This document is intended only to provide definitions of the core environmental principles; it does not provide analysis of how successfully the core environmental principles have been implemented in Alberta.