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Alberta passes bill creating environmental-monitoring panel

Alberta Environment Minister Diana McQueen.

JASON FRANSON/The Globe and Mail

The Alberta government has passed legislation for an arm's-length panel to monitor the environment and help officials reduce pollution in years to come.

The Protecting Alberta's Environment Act passed third reading in the legislature Tuesday night.

Environment Minister Diana McQueen says the act will create an agency to better monitor and disperse information on air, water and soil quality.

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Opposition politicians say it is a good idea, but it is poorly executed.

Liberal MLA Laurie Blakeman says there's no requirement that those overseeing the panel have any scientific experience.

Wildrose Leader Danielle Smith says despite its independent status, the panel is likely to be tightly controlled by the government and used as a scapegoat when things go wrong.

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