PN seeks broader powers for environment commission



The National Party is calling for changes to the parliamentary rules governing parliament’s environment committees, saying it provides an insufficient framework for MPs to discuss pressing issues such as the climate crisis.

Opposition leader Robert Cutajar said the PN had made various appeals to expand the commission’s powers.

“This committee has so far only discussed changes to the local plan,” Cutajar said of the motion to allow the committee to discuss all subjects that fall under planning, environment and climate change issues. I mentioned sex.

The committee met 32 ​​times in the last parliament, and 39 times between 2013 and 2017, when then Labor MP Marlene Farrugia was chair. Farrugia had used the committee’s authority to invite NGO representatives to testify before the committee. The grounds of the American University of Malta in Zionkor.

Mr Cutajar said the PN’s motion would free the commission from the restrictions of current law and instead allow it to be recognized under standing orders like most existing parliamentary committees.

Unlike other committees, the Standing Committee on Environment and Climate is governed by three pieces of legislation: the Environment Act, the Development Planning Act and the Climate Change Act.

Each law refers to the commission in specific matters. The Development Planning Act, which establishes the House of Commons Environment Committee, provides that MPs can discuss matters referred to it from the perspective of environmental protection law and climate change law. These then limit the discussion to changes to the PA’s local plan, annual low carbon and climate adaptation targets, and the draft spatial strategy.

Under the Environmental Protection Act, the committee can discuss local plans referred to the House of Commons, as well as national environmental strategies and environmental status reports. and any other documents that the Minister of the Environment “deems necessary.”

The Climate Change Act requires the Minister responsible to submit Malta’s National Low Carbon Development Strategy and National Adaptation Strategy at least once every five years, and to report annually on Malta’s progress in achieving those targets. Masu. Refer the document to the Committee.

“For us, it is unacceptable that such important issues that directly impact people’s quality of life are not being debated. The Government seems content with this business-as-usual situation and that certain issues are not being discussed in the House of Commons. It doesn’t come up more regularly,” Cutajar told Malta Today.

The Environment Committee, chaired by Labor MP Deo De Battista, has so far met three times since the 2022 election to discuss the PA’s proposals to declassify independent crematoriums and certain public domain sites. The meeting is held twice.

In the last parliament, the PN proposed the creation of a parliamentary commission on the climate emergency to scrutinize binding national targets on air quality and emissions reductions.

The Maltese government announced in July that it would establish a new authority to monitor the effects of climate change and coordinate actions to mitigate them. The announcement came in the wake of an emergency meeting of the Malta Economic and Social Development Council after a week of severe power outages at the height of the summer heat wave.

Following the draft law regulating the creation of such an agency, Energy Minister Miriam Dali stated that the agency’s main purpose will be to carry out monitoring of the impact of various activities on climate change and to advise the country on the necessary actions. He said he would present a proposal. Act to address global crises.

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