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Environmental Law Alert Blog: Federal government reviews of environmental laws: Processes where people matter

Tuesday, June 21, 2016 On June 20, the federal government unveiled a wide-ranging review of the dr… . . . → Read More: Environmental Law Alert Blog: Federal government reviews of environmental laws: Processes where people matter

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 … . . . → Read More: Environmental Law Alert Blog: Revitalizing Indigenous Law for Land, Air and Water: The Cheakamus Retreat

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, Ai… . . . → Read More: Environmental Law Alert Blog: Reflections on RELAW: The role of stories in law

Environmental Law Alert Blog: Addressing cumulative effects in BC’s north

Monday, May 30, 2016 Today, in conjunction with the Northwest Institute for Bioregional Research (… . . . → Read More: Environmental Law Alert Blog: Addressing cumulative effects in BC’s north

Environmental Law Alert Blog: Working towards a next-generation environmental assessment law for Canada

Friday, May 20, 2016 On May 1-3, West Coast Environmental Law hosted a Federal Environmental Asses… . . . → Read More: Environmental Law Alert Blog: Working towards a next-generation environmental assessment law for Canada

Environmental Law Alert Blog: Emission Omission: Canadian government plans to assess only some pipeline greenhouse gases

Tuesday, April 12, 2016 The Canadian government wants to know what you think about its plans to co… . . . → Read More: Environmental Law Alert Blog: Emission Omission: Canadian government plans to assess only some pipeline greenhouse gases

Environmental Law Alert Blog: Getting to yes: A process for building Canada’s visionary new environmental assessment act

Tuesday, March 22, 2016 Last November, in a federally-unprecedented move, Prime Minister Trudeau m… . . . → Read More: Environmental Law Alert Blog: Getting to yes: A process for building Canada’s visionary new environmental assessment act

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 B… . . . → Read More: Environmental Law Alert Blog: Province Can’t Pass the Buck on Oil Pipelines: BC Supreme Court

Environmental Law Alert Blog: Day 5: Northern Gateway seeks to defend the "gold standard" review process

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Day 5 of 6 – we are on the home stretch! Today we heard from Northern Gateway about what it labelled the “gold standard” approach to consultation and review for the project as a whole. Counsel for Northern Gateway argued that Northern Gateway went ‘above and beyond’ the legal requirements of the process, at great cost. Join us tomorrow for the last day of the hearing. We will hear about the definition of ‘public interest’ from the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP). Finally, the applicants will have a chance to reply to the arguments we (Read more…)

Environmental Law Alert Blog: Day 3: Environmental and labour organizations challenge Enbridge approval

Monday, October 5, 2015

Another day down at the Federal Court of Appeal in Vancouver and just like that we are half way through the six day Enbridge hearing. Today we heard arguments from four environmental organizations and one labour union – all challenging the legal basis for the Enbridge pipeline approval. Tomorrow, Canada seeks to defend its position. Hold onto your hats, it’s a true legal showdown. 

First up this morning, Chris Tollefson presented arguments on behalf of BC Nature, a B.C.-based conservation group. BC Nature’s main argument is that the Joint Review Panel (JRP) failed (Read more…)

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 labour union will make their case against the Enbridge approval so… stay tuned!

Spirits remained high in the 8th floor courtroom even as a dense fog settled on downtown Vancouver. The courtroom was jam-packed all day long while lawyers representing the Nak’azdli, Nadleh Whut’en, (Read more…)

Environmental Law Alert Blog: Time travel with the National Energy Board – Where 15 months can feel like years

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

On September 24, 2015 the National Energy Board (NEB) did something remarkable. They stopped time. More precisely, they traveled back in time, to September 18, 2015, stopped time, then traveled back to the future, to January 8, 2016 to start it again. In the words of the Time Lord, Dr. Who, time is indeed “wibbly wobbly timey wimey stuff?”

On September 24, 2015 the National Energy Board (NEB) did something remarkable. They stopped time. More precisely, they traveled back in time, to September 18, 2015, stopped time, then traveled back to the future, to January (Read more…)

. . . → Read More: Environmental Law Alert Blog: Time travel with the National Energy Board – Where 15 months can feel like years

Environmental Law Alert Blog: Want to help protect our environment? Have your say on how you can have a say

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Meaningful public participation is a backbone of environmental assessment. But the BC environmental assessment backbone is broken. Now is your chance to help fix it.

Until May 26th at 9:00 am PDT, you can provide feedback to the BC Environmental Assessment Office (EAO) on its public participation processes by posting comments to the EAO’s consultation webpages. Read on to learn how to submit comments and some of the ways public participation in BC can be strengthened.

 

Meaningful public participation is a backbone of environmental assessment. Without it, project reviews can become a closed-door rubber stamp, (Read more…)

Environmental Law Alert Blog: Social licence: mob rule or democracy in action?

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The term “social licence to operate” is used frequently by project proponents and in the media, but has recently attracted some controversy. However, In a context where Canada’s environmental laws are being aggressively weakened in favour of big resource companies, and where many Canadians are feeling alienated and excluded from formal environmental decision-making, the concept is rapidly gaining in importance. 

The term “social licence to operate” (SLO) is used frequently by project proponents and in the media.  What does it mean and why is it important?  The phrase was originally coined by the (Read more…)

Environmental Law Alert Blog: West Coast and NWI Launch North Coast Community Dialogue Session Series on LNG and Cumulative Impacts Management

Thursday, December 18, 2014

On December 11, West Coast Environmental Law, along with the Northwest Institute for Bioregional Research (NWI), co-hosted the first of a series of community dialogue sessions on LNG and cumulative impacts management.  We held the opening session in Prince Rupert last week and were moved by the depth of knowledge, thoughtfulness and concern that participants brought to the session.  The objective of the event was to bring together First Nations, concerned citizens, business owners, health workers, local governments and non-profit organizations to begin to talk about the overall picture of LNG development in the (Read more…)

Environmental Law Alert Blog: Canada’s Enbridge decision: An annotated guide

Thursday, June 19, 2014

If you've read the federal government's June 17 press release about Enbridge's Northern Gateway proposal, you might be wondering what it all means.  Here's our quick take on it. 

If you've read the federal government's June 17 press release about Enbridge's pipelines and tankers proposal (AKA Northern Gateway), you might be wondering what it all means.  Here's our quick take on it.  The presentation below takes about 7 minutes and you can start by pressing the play button in the bottom left corner of the frame.

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Environmental Law Alert Blog: Investors ask: Is the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline becoming the new Keystone?

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Investors are asking whether Kinder Morgan's Transmountain Pipeline could become the next Keystone, after Kinder Morgan’s statements about oil spills being good for the economy went viral.  Increasingly it is becoming clear that this project is not inevitable, and the National Energy Board's review process is becoming mired with constant and unrelenting criticism, which makes the project’s swift approval far from certain as the numerous legal and financial risks it faces come into sharp focus.

That was the question posed by the investor website seekingalpha.com following Kinder Morgan’s “PR Nightmare” which made (Read more…)

. . . → Read More: Environmental Law Alert Blog: Investors ask: Is the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline becoming the new Keystone?

Environmental Law Alert Blog: Taseko Mines, what part of “No” don’t you understand?

Monday, March 31, 2014

Last month, the federal government rejected Taseko Mines’proposal to build the controversial New Prosperity Project.  Again.  But Taseko is going to court arguing that the environmental assessment process that resulted in a “No” for the second time was based on an error, and that it should have yet another opportunity – through a process again largely paid for by the taxpayer – to explain why its mine is a good idea.  Saying “yes” to development when it is environmentally and socially appropriate, does not mean that we can't have strong environmental laws that (Read more…)

Environmental Law Alert Blog: Widening (even further) the hole in federal fish protection: Canada’s proposed Fisheries Act Regulations

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

British Columbians are no strangers to environmental deregulation. The early aughts, which for decades prior were heralded as likely to usher in electric cars and other signs of eco-enlightenment, instead saw a thorough dismantling of the province’s environmental regime, with the BC government repealing or weakening a range of environmental laws, regulations and programs.

British Columbians are no strangers to environmental deregulation.

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Environmental Law Alert Blog: Dear President Obama: In Canada climate change affects none of our decisions

Friday, February 21, 2014

When U.S. President Obama met with Prime Minister Harper earlier this week, he highlighted the importance of considering climate change in key energy decisions, like the Keystone XL, but was polite enough not to highlight that Canadian energy decisions do their best to ignore climate change.  The reality is that building fossil fuel infrastructure, and dramatically expanding the oil sands, cannot be divorced from the consequences of those actions.  Canadians would all benefit from a decision-making framework that transparently and realistically assessed the costs of the fossil fuel future that we are building. (Read more…)

Environmental Law Alert Blog: Strict timelines for environmental assessments, but not for government

Friday, February 14, 2014

It feels a bit like déjà vu. Once again we’re faced with a federal government study that was highly relevant to the environmental assessment of the Enbridge pipelines and tankers project, but which was not considered in the assessment because it was released too late.  Like an earlier Environment Canada report, this Transport Canada report is highly relevant to the issues that were before the Enbridge JRP.  In fact, the Transport Canada report directly considers the marine risks posed by Enbridge’s pipelines and tankers proposal, concluding for example that Enbridge’s project would raise the (Read more…)

Environmental Law Alert Blog: Why the NEB downplayed the impact of a major bitumen spill

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

So how did the National Energy Board’s Joint Review Panel (JRP) considering Enbridge’s proposed pipelines and tankers project conclude that a catastrophic spill of diluted bitumen (untreated oil sands oil, diluted so that it can be transported by pipe) on BC’s North Coast would only have a short-term impact on the environment? We suggest that the Enbridge JRP report is illustrative of two concerns that we’ve raised about changes to Canada’s environmental assessment laws:

Having environmental assessments done by the National Energy Board (NEB) undermines the potential for an unbiased and independent assessment; Putting in place (Read more…)

Environmental Law Alert Blog: "Not In Your Breadbasket"

Friday, January 17, 2014

Finding consensus among British Columbians on the controversial Site C dam that BC Hydro is seeking to build on the Peace River is challenging.  But one thing that can’t be disputed is our need of food. Call it a universal truth: we need to eat. And so this week I went to Fort St. John to help residents, farmers and citizen groups protect regional and provincial food security against plans by the BC Hydro to flood almost 16,000 acres of farmlands for the sake of industrial development and energy exports.

Peace River, BC. Photo courtesy (Read more…) . . . → Read More: Environmental Law Alert Blog: "Not In Your Breadbasket"

Environmental Law Alert Blog: Why Anna’s going to Washington

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Recently we asked our readers to write to the Commission on Environmental Cooperation (CEC) to talk about their concerns with the Canadian government’s actions in dismantling our environmental laws in omnibus budget bills (Bills C-38 and C-45).  Well, now we’re taking those concerns to Washington, DC to attend the CEC’s public conference, to meet with members of the CEC’s Joint Public Advisory Committee (JPAC) and to press the Canadian government not to bring into force the worst of the changes to our Fisheries Act.  Here’s a recorded statement from Anna Johnston, our staff lawyer, (Read more…)

Environmental Law Alert Blog: Mining the Family Farm

Monday, September 9, 2013

BC’s archaic mining laws have a real cost for BC communities, their environment and their economies. This blog post is the first in a series that highlights the stories of a wide variety of people and places in BC that have felt first-hand the negative impacts of our outdated, gold-rush era mining laws.

During the gold rush, as thousands of prospectors made their way to the west, early colonial legislation gave them a right of “free entry” to most lands in the colony, and established a system for them to acquire mineral rights by “staking a (Read more…)