It’s been a full 10 days since a Husky Energy pipeline spewed 250,000 litres of heavy oil and diluent into the North Saskatchewan River near Maidstone, Sask.
But it’s still totally unclear if the incident — which has forced North Battleford and Prince Albert to shut down their water intake systems and Muskoday First Nation to declare a state of emergency — was an accident or a pre-meditated false flag by a crew of anti-pipeline activists disguised as bumbling politicians and oil execs attempting to prove why Canada’s pipeline approval and regulation process is fatally flawed.
We jest, obviously.
But the situation has indeed come at an incredibly bad time for pipeline companies, given that public hearings for Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain Expansion are underway (with that process already heavily criticized), while those for TransCanada’s Energy East are set to begin on August 8.
Justin Trudeau’s government has quietly issued its first batch of permits for the Site C dam — allowing construction to move forward on the $8.8 billion BC Hydro project despite ongoing legal challenges by two First Nations.
The federal-provincial review panel’s report on Site C found the 1,100 megawatt dam will result in significant and irreversible adverse impacts on Treaty 8 First Nations.
Caleb Behn, who is from West Moberly First Nation, one of the nations taking the federal government to court, says Trudeau has broken his promise.
“It’s 19th century technology being permitted with 19th century thinking and I expected more from the Trudeau government,” he said. “These permits were our last best hope to resolve this.”
“These permits suggest very strongly that, at least these ministries, if not Trudeau’s entire cabinet, are unwilling to engage in reconciliation with indigenous peoples. I thought this country could be more.”
The emergency permits, first revealed by DeSmog Canada, raise questions about the relationship between government ministries and BC Hydro, which is under pressure to keep to Premier Christy Clark's word to get the dam “past the point of no return” before the May 2017 provincial election.
You know you’ve got the attention of the fossil fuel industry when the Financial Post’s Claudia Cattaneo pens a dismissive column about your efforts.
On Tuesday, Cattaneo — recently dubbed “everyone’s favorite oil and gas shill” by American Energy News — bestowed the honour on a new report about TransCanada’s proposed Energy East pipeline, published by the Natural Resources Defense Council and 13 other environmental organizations including 350.org, Greenpeace and the Sierra Club.
This very long piece is the last of a four-part series on B.C.’s climate action plan. Part One addressed B.C.’s GHG reduction targets. Part Two addressed how that plan is at risk of being co-opted by Big Oil. Part Three took a closer look at the B.C. Climate Leadership Team’s recommendations for the carbon tax. This analysis explores how the oil and gas industry, and especially the LNG industry, might financially benefit from hidden subsidies recommended by that advisory body.
Like so many other governments around the world, British Columbia’s Liberal government led by Premier Christy Clark has been duped by the barons of Big Oil.
Beguiled by the petroleum industry’s promises of new investment and jobs, the Clark government has repeatedly proved itself a patsy in acceding to the LNG industry’s every demand.
In the process, it has subjugated B.C.’s global-leading 2008 climate action plan to its misguided vision for the unchecked exploitation of non-renewable natural gas.
It has broken its own law, in failing to meet B.C.’s legislated targets for provincial greenhouse gas reductions.
NextEra, the largest provider of the wind power in the U.S., was positioned to play a key role in financing the importing of 800,000 metric tons per year of LNG from FortisBC’s Tilbury LNG storage facility in Delta for use in an upgraded power plant on the west coast of Oahu.
The deal, struck in May between a Fortis subsidiary and the Hawaiian Electric Company, would have lasted for 20 years beginning in 2021. The LNG would have been exported by WesPac Midstream via its proposed terminal on the Fraser River.
Industrial activity has profoundly affected the Blueberry River First Nations in northern B.C. A recent Atlas of Cumulative Landscape Disturbance, by the First Nations, the David Suzuki Foundation and Ecotrust, found 73 per cent of the area inside its traditional territory is within 250 metres of an industrial disturbance and 85 per cent is within 500 metres.
In other words, in much of the territory, which once supported healthy moose and caribou populations, it’s difficult if not impossible to walk half a kilometre before hitting a road, seismic line or other industrial infrastructure. Local caribou populations are threatened with extinction mainly because of habitat disturbance caused by industrial activity and ensuing changes to predator-prey dynamics.
But according to the Halalt First Nation, cultural damage is only a part of the harm caused by the industrial facility, operating since 1957, that is responsible for the release of endocrine-disrupting and cancer-causing dioxins and furans into the local environment.
According to Eli Enns, director of operations for the Halaht, the ongoing pollution in the region is wreaking havoc on the local environment.
“You have the Crofton mill itself which has unfortunately cemented right over sacred burial sites of the Halalt Coast Salish peoples,” Enns says in a new film, premiered by the nation here on DeSmog Canada (see below).
“It has totally destroyed the estuary and traditional food systems for the Halalt. It has inundated the airshed with all kinds of toxic pollutants which will probably have long lasting and unpredictable effects on the health of the Halalt people and other local communities.”
Dioxins and furans, the byproduct of a chlorine bleaching process, bioaccumulate in the food chain and are stored in the fatty tissues of animals. The presence of dioxins in animals has been linked to birth defects, spontaneous abortions and tumors.