Friday, May 1, 2015 - 13:11 • Judith Lavoie

A decision on whether pouring two building foundations and clearing trees constitutes a “substantial start” for the Jumbo Glacier Resort project will be made by the Environmental Assessment Office in June and the report will include information on buildings located within avalanche zones.

That assessment will then go to Environment Minister Mary Polak for the final verdict on whether the controversial billion-dollar resort should go ahead.

Our current plan is to have a decision on whether the project has been substantially started by early to mid-June,” said an Environment Ministry spokesman.

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Thursday, April 30, 2015 - 11:49 • Emma Gilchrist
EPA and Costco
EPA and Costco

The National Energy Board’s decision to grant Costco intervener status in its review of the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline even though it had missed the deadline to apply is raising questions given that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was denied its request for an extension to the same deadline.

Costco submitted a late application to participate in the review of Kinder Morgan’s proposal to triple the capacity of its pipeline to Burnaby on April 9, 2015. The company argued that it received formal notice of the pipeline’s potential impacts on its Langley property on Feb. 4, 2015, when it was served with notice for land acquisition.

In a letter sent to all interveners, the National Energy Board wrote that Costco had provided sufficient reasons for the board to consider a late submission based on the fact “the project may cross Costco’s lands and it has the potential to be directly affected.”

American authorities are nervous about Kinder Morgan’s proposal to increase oil tanker traffic by a factor of seven through the shared waters off B.C.’s coast, particularly in light of the recent slow response to a small fuel spill in Vancouver Harbour.

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Wednesday, April 29, 2015 - 13:37 • Carol Linnitt

Richard Kinder, Houston-based billionaire and CEO of Kinder Morgan Inc., told an industry audience last week the TransMountain pipeline expansion project “will go forward” if granted approval at the federal level, despite growing and very vocal opposition to the project in British Columbia.

Kinder said pipeline opponents are using “spurious arguments” to purposely strangle pipeline projects across North America as a means of fighting development in the Alberta oilsands.

I am sure there are legitimate concerns about any mega infrastructure development, but a lot of this is [about] the pipeline as a choke point to get at production of the oilsands, which there are people in Canada and the U.S. who want to strangle that altogether,” Kinder said.

Kinder’s comments seem to affirm criticism that the company is refusing to take local opposition seriously.

Rich Kinder's optimism shows he really does not understand B.C.,” Tzeporah Berman, adjunct professor of environmental studies at York University, told DeSmog Canada. “British Columbians love this coast,” she added, noting the recent bunker fuel spill in Vancouver’s English Bay “was a real wake up call.”

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Tuesday, April 28, 2015 - 17:38 • Carol Linnitt

The B.C. Ministry of Environment was too concerned with the interests of Rio Tinto Alcan when it granted the company a permit to dramatically increase the release of sulphur dioxide (SO2) emissions in the Kitimat airshed, attendants of a tribunal heard in Victoria on Monday.

This case raises the specter, in a very real way, of regulatory capture,” Chris Tollefson, lawyer for the University of Victoria’s Environmental Law Centre, argued in his opening statement.

Tollefson said the B.C. Ministry of Environment put senior official Frazer McKenzie in a conflicted position when it allowed Rio Tinto Alcan to pay his salary between 2007 and 2013 — during which time McKenzie was tasked with reviewing an upgrading application for the company’s Kitimat smelter.

In 2013, the province, acting through Ian Sharpe, environmental manager for the Ministry of Environment,  granted Rio Tinto Alcan permission to proceed with a $3.3 billion modernization project that would increase production and the amount of sulphur dioxide emissions released into the Kitimat airshed.

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Tuesday, April 28, 2015 - 15:42 • Judith Lavoie

A provincial stop work order on the only two buildings under construction on the proposed Jumbo Glacier Resort site comes as no surprise to those familiar with the Jumbo Valley, which is marked by the bare swaths of avalanche paths sweeping down mountainsides and across the valley.

I think it was a foregone conclusion,” said Rod Gibbons, senior guide with RK Heli-ski, a company that has operated in the area for more than 40 years.

We were the ones that turned in the report to government to let them know (Glacier Resorts Ltd.) had just put the footings in the runoff zone for an avalanche path,” he said.

Renowned mountaineer and photographer Pat Morrow, who, as a director of the Jumbo Creek Conservation Society, has been at the forefront of an ongoing battle to stop development of the glacial wilderness resort, said the proponent appears to be arguing that avalanches don’t go through trees or create new paths.

This was not a surprise at all,” he said.

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Tuesday, April 28, 2015 - 13:04 • Heather Libby

Late Saturday afternoon, Transport Canada officially cleared the Marathassa to leave Canadian waters. As it slowly moves out of the Salish Sea, the bulk carrier leaves angry mayors, a combative coast guard, a distrustful public and many, many questions in its wake.

Even U.S. authorities are anxiously looking north wondering if Canada knows anything about marine oil spill response. 

What we know about this spill is important, but there’s a lot more we don’t know, and might never know, about what happened in English Bay.

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Tuesday, April 28, 2015 - 10:55 • Emma Gilchrist

A film about a B.C. indigenous leader torn between two worlds as his people grapple with the impact of hydraulic fracturing on their territory will premiere at the Hot Docs Film Festival in Toronto Tuesday night.

Fractured Land follows Caleb Behn, a young Dene lawyer, as he navigates the conflicts on his physical terrain — where fracking is taking its toll on his land and water in northeastern B.C. — and the conflicts within himself as he struggles to reconcile his traditions with the modern world.

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