Environmental Law Alert Blog: Mni Wiconi: Water is life, more than ever

Wednesday, February 1, 2017 These simple and profound words, “Water is Sacred,” have become a call to action in North Dakota. Since April 2016, thousands of people have gathered there to protect water from “the Black Snake,” the Dakota Access pipeline proposed to bring oil under the Missouri River. After a year of work on the RELAW ...

Environmental Law Alert Blog: Carrying forward lessons from Northern Gateway

Thursday, December 8, 2016 Understandably, those opposed to the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain project have not been in a mood to celebrate this past week. At the same time as the Prime Minister announced the federal government’s approval of Kinder Morgan (and the Enbridge Line 3 project), he confirmed something that most people already knew ...

Environmental Law Alert Blog: Field notes: A week of pipeline action and cross-Canada solidarity

Tuesday, December 6, 2016 Staff Counsel Eugene Kung recounts an action-packed week preparing for – and responding to – the federal government's approval of the Kinder Morgan tar sands pipeline and tankers proposal. This is your friend Eugene, blogging from 9,753 metres in the sky. I’m writing on my way home after a full and ...

Environmental Law Alert Blog: RELAW Project: Summer in review

Monday, September 19, 2016 Over the summer, the Revitalizing Indigenous Law for Land, Air and Water (RELAW) team has been busy working with stories, and travelling to visit with participating Nations about Indigenous laws. The six participating First Nations are looking at creating water policies, marine use plans, environmental codes of ethics, consent regimes, and ...

Environmental Law Alert Blog: Field notes from the Haida Gwaii Potlatch: Why government and industry should take heed of Indigenous governance decisions

Wednesday, September 14, 2016 I was honoured to have been invited to witness this historic potlatch, Raven Always Sets Things Right, hosted by the Yahgulaanaas/Janaas Raven Clan of Haida Gwaii. I visited Haida Gwaii for the first time just last year, and it left an indelible mark as a very special part of the world, ...

Environmental Law Alert Blog: What are we going to do about Site C?

Monday, August 15, 2016 As the Site C dam project forges ahead, West Coast's RELAW Project Manager Maxine Matilpi considers difficult questions about the future of the Peace River Valley and the Indigenous communities fighting to preserve their territories.     It's the end of the day and our shared office is hot and stuffy. ...

Environmental Law Alert Blog: What are we going to do about Site C?

Monday, August 15, 2016 As the Site C dam project forges ahead, West Coast's RELAW Project Manager Maxine Matilpi considers difficult questions about the future of the Peace River Valley and the Indigenous communities fighting to preserve their territories.     It's the end of the day and our shared office is hot and stuffy. ...

Environmental Law Alert Blog: Lessons from a summer at West Coast

Friday, August 12, 2016 West Coast Environmental Law Association was lucky to have four talented students join us this summer from law schools across the country. As the season winds down, our summer law students share their reflections on an exciting few months learning about the ins and outs of environmental law. From left to ...

Environmental Law Alert Blog: Lessons from a summer at West Coast

Friday, August 12, 2016 West Coast Environmental Law Association was lucky to have four talented students join us this summer from law schools across the country. As the season winds down, our summer law students share their reflections on an exciting few months learning about the ins and outs of environmental law. From left to ...

Environmental Law Alert Blog: Catching up with science: Salmon biodiversity and Aboriginal fisheries rights in BC

Wednesday, August 3, 2016 At West Coast Environmental Law, we are passionate about collaboration and integrating science with law. When new, ground-breaking studies are published in the scientific world, it presents a unique opportunity to identify the implications this might have on shaping and influencing laws. A recent study, “Species and population diversity in Pacific ...

Environmental Law Alert Blog: Catching up with science: Salmon biodiversity and Aboriginal fisheries rights in BC

Wednesday, August 3, 2016 At West Coast Environmental Law, we are passionate about collaboration and integrating science with law. When new, ground-breaking studies are published in the scientific world, it presents a unique opportunity to identify the implications this might have on shaping and influencing laws. A recent study, “Species and population diversity in Pacific ...

Environmental Law Alert Blog: Kinder Morgan’s Salad Days of Summer

Tuesday, July 12, 2016 The warmth and relative freedom of summer creates an atmosphere of spontaneity and often last-minute plans come together: “Let’s drive to that pow-wow this weekend!” “Who wants to go to the beach for a picnic this afternoon?” “Come to the Vancouver Folk Festival and visit our WCEL table!” Summer 2016 is ...

Environmental Law Alert Blog: Revitalizing Indigenous Law for Land, Air and Water: The Cheakamus Retreat

Monday, June 20, 2016 The Revitalizing Indigenous Law for Land, Air, and Water (RELAW) Project is a new initiative that aims to deepen First Nations’ capacity to engage in the process of revitalizing, applying and enforcing their own laws to contemporary environmental problems and proactive land and resource decision-making. In this post, Articled Student Lindsay ...

Environmental Law Alert Blog: Reflections on RELAW: The role of stories in law

Friday, June 17, 2016 West Coast is excited to launch the Revitalizing Indigenous Law for Land, Air, and Water (RELAW) project in partnership with the Indigenous Law Research Unit (ILRU) at the University of Victoria. RELAW is a pilot project with the aim of supporting First Nations in their process of revitalizing, applying and enforcing ...

Environmental Law Alert Blog: Field notes from the Treaty 8 Moose Summit

Monday, April 18, 2016 In February 2016, West Coast's Hannah Askew attended a Moose Management Summit in Fort St. John, which was held to address Treaty 8 First Nations’ concerns about the state of moose in their territory. The word for moose in Dunne-zah is “Huuda,” which literally translates to “that which keeps us alive.” ...

Environmental Law Alert Blog: Gitanyow Aboriginal Title and Sustainability

Friday, April 15, 2016 On April 4, 2016 the Gitanyow Hereditary Chiefs filed an amended Notice of Civil Claim in the BC Supreme Court seeking judicial recognition of their title to 6,200 square kilometres of the mid-Nass River and Kitwanga River watersheds in northwestern British Columbia. In this guest blog, Glen Williams/Malii and Tara Marsden/Naxginkw ...

Environmental Law Alert Blog: Province Can’t Pass the Buck on Oil Pipelines: BC Supreme Court

Thursday, January 14, 2016 West Coast has previously suggested that, in spite of the Province of British Columbia’s “tough talk” on oil pipelines, it has been trying to pass the decision-making buck to the federal government’s National Energy Board (NEB).  A year ago, the Gitga’at First Nation and Coastal First Nations (CFN) sought a court ...

Environmental Law Alert Blog: Fort Nelson First Nation Shuts Down Nexen’s License to Frack

Friday, November 20, 2015 In September, the Fort Nelson First Nation won a major legal challenge at the Environmental Appeal Board (EAB) that overturned a long term water license issued to gas giant Nexen Inc for hydraulic fracturing (or “fracking”). The EAB decision is an important win – setting new precedents on how water managers ...

Environmental Law Alert Blog: Day 6: Judges left to decide fate of Enbridge

Friday, October 9, 2015 First Nations and environmental organizations had a chance to make reply submissions before the Federal Court of Appeal today. This six-day hearing was the culmination of thousands of hours of work, mountains of documents, and tremendous displays of community support. Now it is up to the panel of three judges to ...

Environmental Law Alert Blog: Day 4: Canada seeks to defend Enbridge approval in Court

Tuesday, October 6, 2015 We are on the home stretch with only two days left of this historic proceeding! Today, lawyers representing the government of Canada argued their position. In short, they argued that the Cabinet’s decision to approve Enbridge was reasonable and that Canada meaningfully consulted with Aboriginal groups affected by the project. Tomorrow, ...

Environmental Law Alert Blog: Yinka Dene Alliance kick off Day 2 of the Enbridge hearing

Sunday, October 4, 2015 Day 2: Another inspired and spirited day at the Enbridge Hearing! The courtroom was jam-packed all day as lawyers for the Nak’azdli, Nadleh Whut’en, Gitga’at and Gitxaała Nations presented their arguments. This wrapped up the submissions from the eight First Nations applicants. Next Monday, October 5th, four environmental organizations and a ...

Environmental Law Alert Blog: Tsleil-Waututh Nation: “Yes” to solar; “No” to Kinder Morgan

Wednesday, January 21, 2015 I was honoured to attend the Tsleil-Waututh Nation’s (TWN) launch and celebration of its new solar tracker. With the installation of TWN’s solar tracker, TWN signaled that the green energy future is now. Far more than just opposing a pipeline that threatens their culture and spirituality while facilitating the expansion of ...

Environmental Law Alert Blog: First Nations, Non-Governmental Organizations and Union Get Green Light to Proceed With a Barrage of Court Cases against Enbridge Northern Gateway Proposal

Monday, October 20, 2014 Earlier this month, a large number of First Nations and organizations celebrated an important step forward when all of their cases challenging the federal approval of the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipelines and tankers proposal were given the green light to proceed by the Federal Court of Appeal. Earlier this month, a ...

Environmental Law Alert Blog: Field Notes from the Totem Pole Journey

Friday, September 19, 2014 WCEL is honoured to have partnered with Lummi Nation and Tsleil-Waututh Nation to help deliver a 21 foot western red cedar totem pole carved by master carver Jewell James and the Lummi House of Tears Carvers to the Beaver Lake Cree Nation in recognition of, and solidarity with their fight. I ...

Environmental Law Alert Blog: Field notes from the Salish Sea Summer Gathering

Wednesday, August 20, 2014 This year marked the Third Annual Salish Sea Summer Gathering in Whey-ah Wichen/Cates Park in North Vancouver, hosted by the Tsleil Waututh Nation Sacred Trust. West Coast Environmental Law was pleased to be a part of the day and be a sponsor of this event. Held on August 10th, the gathering ...