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Province shuts down Pacific Carbon Trust

VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – The province’s Core Review has made its first couple of decisions, including shutting down a Crown agency that has been the target of a number of groups.

The Pacific Carbon Trust is being moved into government to save $5.6 million a year.

Opposition parties, the BC Auditor General, and a taxpayers’ group have all been critical of the agency, which deals in carbon offsets. Those criticisms include collecting millions of dollars from hospitals and schools, and spending the money on carbon offset projects that, regardless, would have gone ahead.

Cabinet Minister Bill Bennett says for now, health authorities and post-secondary schools will continue to buy offsets.

“The K-to-12 system no longer pays cash for offsets. They are encouraged to invest in energy-saving initiatives. We’d like to do the same thing with the post-secondary institutions and with the health authorities.”

Environment Minister Mary Polak says the province remains committed to a carbon-neutral public sector. “We believe at this stage, the best way to do that is by managing the procurement of offsets within government.”

Jordan Bateman of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation welcomes the change. “Bringing it into government, chopping most of its staff, cutting its budget by more than 35 per cent… those are good steps forward and will save taxpayers money.

The province also says the Provincial Capital Commission will be dissolved as part of the Core Review.