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The Common Sense Canadian: Landmark Treaty 8 lawsuit challenges Site C Dam, LNG

A sweeping lawsuit filed this week by the Blueberry River First Nations from northeast BC threatens the province’s resource agenda – including the proposed Site C Dam and shale gas and LNG development.

As a party to Treaty 8, the First Nation was guaranteed the right to continue practicing its traditional way of life on the land, but that promise has been repeatedly broken over the last century, the suit alleges. An time lapse map presented by the nation at a press conference in Vancouver yesterday graphically demonstrates how over 90% of critical watersheds have been heavily industrialized since 1950.

Chief Marvin Yahey calls (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: Federal Court denies BC Hydro’s request to hurry up Site C challenge

Peace Valley ranchers Ken and Arlene Boon are plaintiffs in several Site C Dam challenges (Damien Gillis)

A federal court judge has denied BC Hydro’s motion to rush a legal challenge against the crown corporation’s planned Site C Dam project. Hydro sought to expedite the hearing in May in order to keep to its planned construction start this summer – after receiving its provincial and federal environmental certificates late in 2014 – but that’s now up in the air.

According to a media advisory from the plaintiff, the Peace Valley Landowners’ Association (PVLA), the hearing will likely be scheduled for sometime this summer, depending (Read more…)

Things Are Good: Energy From Drinking Water

Drinkable water right from a tap in your home is a relatively new and amazing thing. Just when you thought water delivery systems couldn’t get any better a company has converted pipes into energy generators. Their new pipes can capture energy from water as it flows to its destination to provide a small amount of energy for communities.

“We have a project in Riverside, California, where they’re using it to power streetlights at night,” Semler says. “During the day, when electricity prices are high, they can use it to offset some of their operating costs.”

In Portland, one of (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: Why BC Hydro always overestimates future power demand: Economist

What BC Hydro says about its own work clearly establishes the forecast as a foundation document for future planning for new generation and distribution investments:

Load forecasting is central to BC Hydro’s long-term planning, medium-term investment, and short-term operational and forecasting activities. (1)

Because of this importance, the forecast needs to be as accurate as possible and that is where matters get interesting.

Getting the numbers wrong

An illustration of getting the numbers wrong can be seen on page 21 of the 2012 Load Forecast: “Comparison of 2011 and 2012 Forecasts”. There is a forecasting error of about 4% in (Read more…)

Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff: A Gram of Prevention is Worth a Kiloliter of Benzine

If you don’t know how to fix things, stop breaking them.

Stewart, however, said it could take months for the steam to cool and the pressure to drop. He said that means any leaks from the well could continue for months.

He also expressed doubts that a cleanup is possible

“I don’t know how you get benzine out of an aquifer. There’s no process for filtering it out. It’s basically a mix of carcinogenic chemicals into this underground water system. It’s not like you can put in a scrubber and clean it all up,” Stewart said.

“The only solution (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: Why Site C Dam isn’t a done deal

Damien Gillis and Kootenay Co-op Radio’s Keith Wiley discuss the hurdles still facing Site C Dam following the BC Liberal government’s approval of the project before Christmas. From 6 lawsuits to mounting financial challenges, Gillis explains why the $9 Billion-plus project is far from a done deal.

First broadcast on Jan 6 on Kootenay Co-op Radio’s EcoCentric program (25 min).

The post Why Site C Dam isn’t a done deal appeared first on The Common Sense Canadian.

The Common Sense Canadian: Site C Dam: Govt ignores own rules, faces multiple lawsuits

Peace Valley ranchers Ken and Arlene Boon are part of several law suits over Site C Dam (Damien Gillis)

Even if the BC Liberal government decides today to approve the now $8.5 billion Site C dam, the project still faces some big legal hurdles – based on mistakes the government made following the environmental review process.

In a nutshell, Site C faces 6 different lawsuits from three different groups – each bringing both provincial and federal challenges. The plaintiffs include Alberta First Nations, BC First Nations and the Peace Valley Landowners’ Association (PVLA). Each case boils down to two main issues (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: Christy Clark admits Site C not needed for LNG; Cracks forming in her support for project: Bloomberg

BC Premier Christy Clark would choose the LNG industry over Site C Dam

According to this Dec. 10 story from Bloomberg, BC Premier Christy Clark remains bullish on the beleaguered LNG industry – but, more notably, she has finally given up on the notion the Site C Dam is needed to power LNG plants. Her comments here show cracks forming in her government’s support for the $8 Billion-plus dam:

British Columbia will prioritize LNG over a proposed hydroelectric dam, the C$8.5 billion Site C project, if labor estimates show it will put LNG projects at a disadvantage in securing (Read more…)

Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff: Who Needs Water Anyway?

A delusional remark in a CBC article: “Canada, which has long been criticized for being heavily dependent on shipping natural resources to the rest of the world.” Our Prime Minister, and Saskatchewan’s Premier spend millions, hundreds of millions actually, to tell Canadians and the world how many resources we should be sending elsewhere.

Consider the stat from Gasland II, where about 60% of some wells’ casings are expected to fail within 30 years. Naturally that stat is going to err on the sensational, but even the more conservative ~10% estimates are extremely worrying. “Leaky plumbing on energy (Read more…)

Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff: Are Gore, Suzuki, and Neil Young Hypocrites for Using Oil?

No. They are victims of circumstance, and despite their wealth and fame, they alone cannot change ‘the system’.

A voice from the Facebook-sphere intones: “I appreciate your commitment and respect what you are trying to achieve but bashing fossil fuels while you continue to use them adds no value to your cause.”

Not true. As Shane’s made plain, there’s no means for someone to hop off the oil bandwagon, because we’ve built our society around it for generations. It will take generations to leave it behind (completely), but that isn’t an argument to stop trying. Quite the opposite, (Read more…)

The Canadian Progressive: David Suzuki: Clean drinking water should be a human right in Canada

The lack of access to clean drinking water for hundreds of First Nations, Metis and Inuit communities across Canada, is a national shame, says environmentalist David Suzuki.

The post David Suzuki: Clean drinking water should be a human right in Canada appeared first on The Canadian Progressive.

Things Are Good: New York City’s Simple, and Green, Flood Prevention

New York, like other large cities, has a lot of impermeable services which means that when it rains there is little to contain the water. By using green infrastructure of soil, broken stone, shrubs, trees, etc. the bioswales can capture a lot of water. This green infrastructure is good for water management and obviously benefits the local environments through cleaner air and more pleasant views.

The Big Apple’s pretty new bioswales, built into city sidewalks much like standard tree pits and more modest in size than their suburban brethren, will join about 250 of these aesthetically pleasing drainage ditches that (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: IPPs an even worse rip-off than Site C Dam, SFU economist warns

Construction of a private power project on the Ashlu River (Photo: Range Life)

The following article by renknowned energy expert and SFU economist Dr. Marvin Shaffer is republished from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives’ Policy Note

You would think that the fiasco of the government forcing BC Hydro in recent years to buy run-of-river and other IPP supply that it didn’t need, resulting in losses of hundreds of millions of dollars per year, would have put that unfortunate policy on the back burner for a long time.

Not so. Clean Energy BC, the lobby group very ably representing (Read more…)

Things Are Good: Surfing Oceanic Data

The ocean is massive and it’s experiencing massive change thanks to climate change and humans depleting its resources. We know this, but we don’t know the extent of the harm done to the oceans nor many other aspects of life in the seas.

A surfer and engineer, Benjamin Thompson, decided to do tackle these problems. He invented a special fin for surfboards that can collect data about the planet’s waters while one enjoys some fun recreation

In a world that grows more “Big Data”-obsessed by the day, the amount of information we have on the world’s oceans remains curiously small. (Read more…)

The Canadian Progressive: Three myths about the Energy East pipeline

Maude Barlow, the national chairperson of the Council of Canadians, and Matt Abbott, explain the three myths being used to promote TransCanada’s Energy East pipeline.

The post Three myths about the Energy East pipeline appeared first on The Canadian Progressive.

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Chris Matthews takes note of the gross growth of inequality in the U.S. Dean Baker notes that much of the wealth built on what’s branded as “innovation” reflects little more than successful attempts to evade health, safety and consumer protection laws. And Mike De Souza explores how the notorious ALEC pushes climate denial and other anti-social policies with an alarming amount of support from businesses who (once challenged) claim not to know who they’re funding.

- Meanwhile, Digby points out that the corporatist right is downright eager to work people to the (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: Evidence shows no need for Site C Dam: Economist to Energy Minister

Energy Minister Bill Bennett

Dear Minister;

I know you have heard it all so I guess it is now all about the legacy you and your cabinet colleagues are willing to create. Thinking in terms of demand for electricity in BC, the reported record of sales by BC Hydro has flat-lined at about 50,000 GWhrs between 2008 and now. BC Hydro reports sales for four categories of customers.

Even with a 1.2% annual population growth, as estimated by BC Statistics, sales on a per capital basis are have been trending lower. It is a fact, long denied by the (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: Harper govt joins BC in backing Site C, despite “significant adverse environmental effects”

Bear Flat in northeast BC’s Peace Valley – which would be flooded by Site C Dam (Damien Gillis)

Read this October 14 story from Larry Pynn in the Vancouver Sun on the Harper Cabinet’s conditional approval of the controversial, proposed Site C Dam in BC.

B.C. Hydro’s planned $7.9-billion Site C dam on the Peace River should proceed with conditions despite the likelihood of “significant adverse environmental effects,” the Canadian government announced Tuesday.

The fate of the long-touted and controversial megaproject now rests with the B.C. cabinet, with a decision expected by November.

In announcing Ottawa’s decision, (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: Site C gets BC certificate; Feds, First Nations leave project in doubt

Location of proposed Site C Dam (photo: Damien Gillis)

Read this Oct. 14 story by William Stodalka in the Alaska Highway News on the BC Liberal government’s decision to issue its environmental certificate for the highly controversial proposed Site C Dam.

The B.C. Ministry of Environment has approved an environmental assessment certificate for the Site C project.

The Federal government has yet to issue a decision about the proposed hydroelectric dam near Fort St. John, and the provincial government may still turn down the project, even though the environmental assessment certificate has been issued.

This recent decision will likely (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: As California drought drives up BC food prices…a dam to flood our best farmland?

California’s Central Valley is facing record drought conditions

As British Columbians share a meal this weekend, giving thanks for the food with which we are so blessed, year-round, let us pause for a moment to consider where so much of it comes from: California.

Let us also say a prayer for the last truly productive tracts of local farmland we have left, now threatened by industrial development – first and foremost being the Peace River Valley, in northeast BC, where the proposed Site C Dam could wash away enough good agricultural terrain to feed a million people.

BC depends on (Read more…)

Things Are Good: Look at This Landscaping Called Xeriscaping

California is suffering a huge drought due to horrible water use policies and climate change. For some reason people love to have lawns where they naturally shouldn’t exist, this itself leads to massive water wastage and arguably microclimate issues. Thankfully, perhaps people are beginning to understand that their landscaping is a sad attempt to modify their built environment. A better solution than an artificial environment is a natural one. Xeriscaping may be a good solution to reduce water waste. Check out how it can replace lawns with aesthetic and naturally pleasing solutions.

The Canadian Progressive: 70 of Canadians support a national moratorium on fracking: POLL

A new poll commissioned by the Council of Canadians reveals that an overwhelming majority of Canadians oppose fracking, support “a national moratorium on fracking until it is scientifically proven to be safe.”

The post 70 of Canadians support a national moratorium on fracking: POLL appeared first on The Canadian Progressive.

The Common Sense Canadian: Ex-TD Bank Comptroller: Site C Dam too costly, unnecessary, rushed

Site C Dam will unnecessarily cost taxpayers billions, says one financial expert

The following is a transcript of Rob Botterell’s recent speech to the BC Select Committee on Finance and Government Services. Mr. Botterell is a lawyer, former senior government official and former comptroller of TD Bank’s BC division.

I’m here today to talk about the pending Site C decision and the budget and fiscal implications. This project will be the biggest public infrastructure project in the next 20 years if it proceeds. It’s estimated, currently, to cost $8 billion, which would increase the provincial debt by over 10 percent. (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: Video showcases Peace Valley as Cabinet decides on Site C Dam

First Nations, local business people and farmers speak out against the $8 Billion-plus proposed Site C Dam, which would flood or disrupt over 30,000 acres of prime farmland and wilderness in northeast BC’s Peace Valley.

Directed by conservation filmmaker Jenny Nichols and featuring the photography of Garth Lenz, this short video shows off the spectacular landscape threatened by the project, which federal cabinet is due to decide on this month.

The post Video showcases Peace Valley as Cabinet decides on Site C Dam appeared first on The Common Sense Canadian.

The Common Sense Canadian: Suzuki: Site C Dam would swamp First Nations’ treaty rights

First Nations and farmers join forces at “Paddle for the Peace” to oppose Site C (Damien Gillis)

B.C. First Nations chiefs recently travelled to Ottawa to urge the federal government to pull the plug on the costliest infrastructure project in the country. At an estimated $7.9 billion and growing, the proposed Site C Dam on the beautiful Peace River in northeastern B.C. has been criticized for spiralling costs, questions about whether the electricity it would produce is even needed, and concerns about the environmental and social impacts of flooding thousands of hectares of prime farmland, irreplaceable (Read more…)