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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…)

Environmental Law Alert Blog: Standing Up for Nature and Democracy in Federal Court

Thursday, August 15, 2013

This week, the latest chapter in Canada’s David and Goliath struggle between citizens and Big Oil unfolded as a BC non-profit organization, Forest Ethics Advocacy, launched a constitutional challenge to new requirements in the National Energy Board Act that have the effect of silencing citizens concerned about tar sands pipelines.

This week, the latest chapter in Canada’s David and Goliath struggle between citizens and Big Oil unfolded as a BC non-profit organization, Forest Ethics Advocacy, launched a constitutional challenge to new requirements in the National Energy Board Act that have the effect of silencing citizens concerned (Read more…)

. . . → Read More: Environmental Law Alert Blog: Standing Up for Nature and Democracy in Federal Court

Environmental Law Alert Blog: Back to the drawing board for the Raven Coal Mine

Monday, June 17, 2013

Congratulations to the people of the east coast of Vancouver Island who have been fighting the controversial Raven Coal Project, proposed by Compliance Coal Corporation.  On May 16th the BC Environmental Assessment Office (EAO) sent a letter to Compliance Coal refusing to conduct a detailed review of the project and outlining a whole host of problems with the Coal company’s application for an environmental assessment.  But promises of a revised application for a detailed assessment, and new applications for coal mining rights, emphasize yet again that some areas are simply not appropriate for mine (Read more…)

Environmental Law Alert Blog: Back to the drawing board for the Raven Coal Mine

Monday, June 17, 2013

Congratulations to the people of the east coast of Vancouver Island who have been fighting the controversial Raven Coal Project, proposed by Compliance Coal Corporation.  On May 16th the BC Environmental Assessment Office (EAO) sent a letter to Compliance Coal refusing to conduct a detailed review of the project and outlining a whole host of problems with the Coal company’s application for an environmental assessment.  But promises of a revised application for a detailed assessment, and new applications for coal mining rights, emphasize yet again that some areas are simply not appropriate for mine (Read more…)

Environmental Law Alert Blog: NEB should abandon undemocratic limits on public comment

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Last Thursday, April 4th the National Energy Board (NEB) announced that anyone who wished to comment on Enbridge’s Line 9 pipeline proposal in Central Canada even by simply writing a letter would need to fill out a 10 page application form within 2 weeks.  This is, of course, absurd, since it will take the NEB far longer to review these 10 page applications and decide who will be allowed to write a letter, then it would have taken to read the letters. While the NEB says this new form is in response to Bill C-38

. . . → Read More: Environmental Law Alert Blog: NEB should abandon undemocratic limits on public comment

Environmental Law Alert Blog: NEB should abandon undemocratic limits on public comment

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Last Thursday, April 4th the National Energy Board (NEB) announced that anyone who wished to comment on Enbridge’s Line 9 pipeline proposal in Central Canada even by simply writing a letter would need to fill out a 10 page application form within 2 weeks.  This is, of course, absurd, since it will take the NEB far longer to review these 10 page applications and decide who will be allowed to write a letter, then it would have taken to read the letters. While the NEB says this new form is in response to Bill C-38 (Read more…)

Environmental Law Alert Blog: On Greenwashing Canada’s Enviro-Assessment Laws

Monday, April 8, 2013

A press release issued last Tuesday (April 2nd), by the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (the Agency) concerning a proposed Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) Export Terminal at Kitimat, BC referred to the "strengthened and modernized Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012 (CEAA 2012)."  This term appears literally tens of thousands of times on web pages, press releases and other documents generated by the Agency.  “Strengthened”?  “Modernized”?  In what way is CEAA 2012 strengthened, compared to the old CEAA? The reality is that CEAA 2012 was a major step back for environmental assessment in

. . . → Read More: Environmental Law Alert Blog: On Greenwashing Canada’s Enviro-Assessment Laws

The Canadian Progressive | News & Analysis: New undemocratic rules barrier to public participation in Enbridge’s Line 9 pipeline hearings

Rules “a consequence of weakened federal environmental laws under Bill C-38″ By: Greenpeace Canada & Environmental Defence | Press Release: TORONTO, ON, Apr 5, 2013 – New undemocratic rules are creating a barrier to public participation in upcoming National Energy Board (NEB) hearings into the proposal for Enbridge’s Line 9 oil pipeline. [...]

The post New undemocratic rules barrier to public participation in Enbridge’s Line 9 pipeline hearings appeared first on The Canadian Progressive | News & Analysis.

The Canadian Progressive | News & Analysis: Harper government misled Canadians on environmental assessment “delays”: Study

New study confirms government misled public on Environmental Assessment ‘delays’ By: Sierra Club Canada | Press Release: OTTAWA – A study published in the Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences found environmental assessments triggered by the Fisheries Act prior to the 2012 omnibus bill were NOT taking too long to [...]

The post Harper government misled Canadians on environmental assessment “delays”: Study appeared first on The Canadian Progressive | News & Analysis.

Environmental Law Alert Blog: Jessica Clogg explains Bill C-45, First Nations Rights, FIPA

Monday, March 4, 2013

This interview was originally published by Digital Journal and was written by Grace C. Visconti. Click here to go to the article as it was originally published.

Vancouver – West Coast Environmental Law Executive Director and Senior Counsel Jessica Clogg explains ramifications of Bill C-45, First Nations Rights, and FIPA. Jessica provides legal and strategic support to First Nations to help protect land and resources of their territories.

This interview was originally published by Digital Journal and was written by Grace C. Visconti. Click here to go to the article as it was originally published.

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. . . → Read More: Environmental Law Alert Blog: Jessica Clogg explains Bill C-45, First Nations Rights, FIPA

Environmental Law Alert Blog: From Oolichan to Enbridge: Getting to the Heart of Cumulative Impacts Management in the Northwest

Monday, January 14, 2013

In November 2012, 170 resource management practitioners, scientists, academics, and community members came together at a conference in Smithers, BC  entitled “Adding it All Up: Balancing Benefits and Effects of Resource Development”. The conference, organized by the Bulkley Valley Research Centre, focused on the issue of cumulative impacts management in the northwest region of BC. Gerald Amos from the Headwaters Initiative and a member of the Haisla Nation captures the challenges and opportunities facing the region in his remarks at the conference, excerpts of which we reprint as a guest post. 

A guest

. . . → Read More: Environmental Law Alert Blog: From Oolichan to Enbridge: Getting to the Heart of Cumulative Impacts Management in the Northwest

Environmental Law Alert Blog: The Smoking Gun: Who was the real author of the 2012 omnibus bills?

Friday, January 11, 2013

Kudos to Greenpeace Canada for finding something of a smoking gun exposing  the role of the oil and gas industry in the gutting of Canada’s environmental laws.  Greenpeace has released a letter from the Energy Framework Initiative (EFI), representing every major oil and gas industry association, asking that the government undertake a major overhaul of six critical environmental statutes that inconvenienced the industry.  Five of the statutes have since been replaced or seen major amendments through the dismantling of our country’s environmental safety net s in omnibus bills C-38 and C-45, and further amendments

. . . → Read More: Environmental Law Alert Blog: The Smoking Gun: Who was the real author of the 2012 omnibus bills?

Environmental Law Alert Blog: Raising your voice for the Enbridge JRP (in Victoria, Vancouver and Kelowna)

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Well, tomorrow (January 4th) the Enbridge Joint Review Panel arrives in Victoria.  It’s in Vancouver on January 14th, and in Kelowna on the 28th.  So this is a big month in the southern part of our province for those concerned about the Enbridge Pipeline and Tanker Project. As you may have heard, the general public will not be invited to attend these meetings to watch the presentations from concerned citizens, but we're now learning that even those who are registered to speak can't attend in person to watch their fellow presenters.  But, whether

. . . → Read More: Environmental Law Alert Blog: Raising your voice for the Enbridge JRP (in Victoria, Vancouver and Kelowna)

Environmental Law Alert Blog: Federal government balking at first small step to rebuild Environmental Assessment

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Together with our allies, we are continuing to hold the federal government's feet to the fire to minimize the fall out from "budget" bill C-38 in relation to the new Canadian Environmental Assessment Act 2012. The so-called consultation process for CEAA 2012's critical Project LIst continues – currently a document virtually copied and pasted from the previous Act – and we're asking the Minister to make good on the government's consultation and amendment promises

Nerd alert: Discussion of tedious yet vital regulatory procedure ahead.

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Environmental Law Alert Blog: Living Democracy from the Ground Up: Why Local Voices Matter

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Living Democracy from the Ground Up is a mini-documentary series produced by West Coast Environmental Law that takes an up close and personal look and the impacts that individuals could feel on the ground from rollbacks to our environmental laws. The stories in the series demonstrate how robust and participatory environmental assessment is important to real people and communities and how consulting local people in the process leads to better projects. As Justice Thomas Berger says in Part 3 of the series, “that’s a lesson in democracy.”

“This is your future, you tell me what

. . . → Read More: Environmental Law Alert Blog: Living Democracy from the Ground Up: Why Local Voices Matter