Environment Minister Wayne Panton expects to be able to bring about 80 percent of the National Conservation Law into force in the next few months.
The framework for the complex and controversial piece of legislation, which provides protection for indigenous and endangered species and allows for the creation of conservation zones, is still being developed behind the scenes.
But Mr. Panton said he is confident that the bulk of the law will be enacted soon. He said ministry staff are finalizing some of the regulations, including the process for initiating Environmental Impact Assessments, prior to implementation of the law.
“There are still bits and pieces that need to be done. We will hopefully be implementing sections of the law in stages over the coming months. We expect to be able to implement around 80 percent of the law.”
The National Conservation Council, which held its second public meeting on Tuesday, is going through the process of putting the administrative framework underpinning the law into place.
Several procedures were approved Tuesday, including the framework for the public to nominate species or areas of land to be protected under the law.
The council approved a process for submissions from the public for areas of land to be given protected status under the law. That process will involve written nominations, including the boundaries of the land and why it warrants protection, being submitted to the council between August and October every year.
The law also allows for members of the public to submit applications for protected species – named in the law – to be removed or added from the list.
Species named for protection in the law include turtles, lobster, blue iguana and crocodiles.
On Tuesday, the council approved the process and the paperwork for members of the public to make applications to have species protected.
The council will meet in public on three further occasions in 2015 – May 16, Aug. 25 and Nov. 24.