Carol Linnitt

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Carol Linnitt is Managing Editor and Director of Research for DeSmog Canada. Carol is a writer and researcher focusing on energy development, environmental policy and wildlife. She joined DeSmog in June 2010 as a researcher, focusing much of her time on the natural gas industry and hydraulic fracturing.

Carol is the lead author of DeSmog's original report Fracking the Future: How Unconventional Gas Threatens Our Water, Health & Climate. Her work also led to the DeSmog micro-documentary CRY WOLF: An Unethical Oil Story and the Cry Wolf investigative series.

Carol began her environmental career writing and performing interviews for The Canada Expedition, a non-governmental sustainability initiative, and while working in dispute resolution with communities affected by resource scarcity.

Carol has a Master's in English Literature from York University where she studied political theory, natural resource conflicts and Aboriginal rights. She also has a Master's in Philosophy in the field of phenomenology and environmental ethics and is currently a doctoral candidate at the University of Victoria in the English and Cultural, Social and Political Thought programs.

Group Asks New Alberta Government to Review Oilsands Water Usage Amid Extreme Wild Fires

Conservation group Keepers of the Athabasca is asking the Alberta government to review water usage rules for oilsands companies as the province struggles with unseasonably low water levels and raging wild fires.

Current rules set out under the Surface Water Quantity Management Framework allow two oilsands majors, Suncor and Syncrude, to continue water withdrawals for their operations even when water levels are extremely low. All other oilsands operators are required to abide by set limits.

Alberta is currently fighting 65 forest fires, some near oilsands projects, that are being fueled by extremely dry conditions. Twenty fires are currently considered “out of control.” This week the government initiated a province-wide fire ban. Water bombers are currently being used to suppress the flames.

Canada Creating a 'Death Spiral for Government Science,' Says Newly Retired Federal Scientist

They say the truth will set you free. But sometimes all it takes is retirement.

That’s the case for Steve Campana, a former federal scientist with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans who is using his retirement as an opportunity to speak openly about the federal government’s policies and the damage Prime Minister Stephen Harper has caused to public interest science.

I am concerned about the bigger policy issues that are essentially leading to a death spiral for government science,” Campana told the CBC.

He said federal scientists work in a climate a fear.

I see that is going to be a huge problem in coming years,” he said. “We are at the point where the vast majority of our senior scientists are in the process of leaving now disgusted as I am with the way things have gone, and I don’t think there is any way for it to be recovered.”

B.C. Plans to Cull Wolves for Next Decade While Failing to Protect Caribou Habitat From Industry

B.C. will continue to kill wolves for at least a decade in an attempt to save endangered caribou according to government documents released this week — but new research re-confirms that caribou declines are primarily caused by industrial development.

The province recently finished the first year of its province-wide wolf cull, which resulted in the killing of 84 animals. But documents released to the Globe and Mail indicate the B.C. government is aware habitat destruction is at the root of declining caribou populations.

Ultimately, as long as the habitat conditions on and adjacent to caribou ranges remain heavily modified by industrial activities, it is unlikely that any self-sustaining caribou populations will be able to exist in the South Peace [region],” the document says.

Experts Slow Clap for Canada’s Late and 'Inadequate' Climate Target

Months after most countries revealed national climate targets in the lead up to the December 2015 UN climate summit, Canada has finally announced its contribution to global emissions reductions — and its commitment is getting a failing grade from the climate community.

The NewClimate Institute rated Canada's target as “inadequate.”

In rating Canada ‘inadequate,’ our lowest rating, we note that other governments will have to take a lot more action to make up for the hole left by Canada’s lack of ambition — if warming is to be held to 2˚C,” said Niklas Höhne of the institute.

Canada is promising to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 30 per cent from 2005 levels by 2030.

According to Climate Action International, Canada is unlikely to meet that target, even though it is much weaker than commitments made by other industrial nations.

Economist Robyn Allan Publicly Withdraws From Review of Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Pipeline: 'The Game is Rigged'

Economist and former ICBC president  Robyn Allan withdrew from the National Energy Board’s (NEB) review of the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project Tuesday, saying she can no longer “endorse a process that is not working.”

In a letter addressed to Sherri Young, secretary of the NEB, Allan said the “review is not conducted on a level playing field” and that because the panel is “not an impartial referee…the game is rigged.”

Allan said she began to seriously question the process when oral cross-examination was removed from the process.

I had concerns with what that would do to the overall calibre of the process,” she said.

Allan said she wanted to “participate in good faith through the process of information requests” but now that it has been completed “it’s very clear it has been an exercise in futility.”

I wanted to see the process through enough to unequivocally conclude that it’s broken,” she said. “ Now I see it’s beyond repair.”

Site C Dam a 'Fundamental Threat to Human Rights' and Indigenous Women, Says Amnesty International Canada

First Nations’ consent to the Site C dam should determine the project’s fate, according to Amnesty International Canada’s Craig Benjamin.

At the end of the day with regard to human rights you can simply ask ‘what are First Nations saying?’ ”

And if they’re saying no, we have to say no as well,” Benjamin, campaigner for human rights and indigenous peoples from Amnesty International Canada, told an audience gathered in Victoria this week.

Speaking at a public education event with West Moberly First Nations’ Chief Roland Willson, Benjamin said Canada is breaking its own laws when it comes to the rights of First Nations.

First Nations Chief Fears Site C Will Increase Mercury Poisoning of Fish

West Moberly First Nation Chief Roland Willson said the day his nine-year-old son caught a nine pound fish, a dolly varden, in the Williston reservoir should have been a proud moment.

He caught it in the reservoir but because of what I know about the mercury we couldn’t eat it,” Willson said. “He had snagged it so bad we had to take it home and it ended up going in the garbage.”

The Williston reservoir, resulting from the creation of the W.A.C Bennett dam, is known for containing high levels of mercury, a common feature of large man-made reservoirs containing high levels of organic material. In 2000, the B.C. government issued a fish consumption advisory for the reservoir.

Although that day of fishing on the reservoir was seven years ago, Willson has a new reason to fear those high levels of mercury: the recent approval of the Site C dam.

Willson said he’s concerned the Site C dam will result in similarly contaminated reservoir water.

Site C is proposed for the same river,” Willson said. “There’s no reason to think this problem is not going to transfer.”

Rio Tinto Alcan Externalizing Air Pollution onto Kitimat Households, Says Expert Witness

Increased sulphur dioxide (SO2) pollution from the expanded Rio Tinto Alcan (RTA) aluminum smelter in Kitimat, B.C. will result in increased health costs for local households, an expert witness told an Environmental Appeals Board panel in Victoria, Monday.

Dr. Brian Scarfe, an economist and cost-benefit analyst from the University of Victoria, testified before the tribunal that the externalized health costs placed on residents living near the Kitimat smelter will outstrip the cost of introducing scrubbers — which remove SO2 pollution from effluent — to the RTA plant.

In 2013 the B.C. government approved RTA’s permit to increase production of the smelter. The ‘modernization’ project will limit the release of other aluminum-associated emissions including greenhouse gases, but will result in a 56 per cent increase of sulphur dioxide being pumped into the airshed.

B.C. ruled RTA was not required to install scrubbers to prevent the SO2 increase from 27 to 42 tonnes per day.

Thrown Under the Omnibus: C-51 the Latest in Harper’s Barrage of Sprawling, Undemocratic Bills

In 1982, an omnibus bill proposed by the Pierre Trudeau government provoked such indignation in parliamentarians that the official opposition whip refused to show up in the House of Commons.

Back then the custom was for Parliament to ring noisy “division bells” when opposition whips pulled a no-show and in this case they rang loudly — for two whole weeks.

The noise was so unbearable that parliamentarians were supplied, and this is no joke, with earplugs at the door.

While the division bells no longer ring, the passing of the Harper government’s most recent and certainly most contentious omnibus bill, the anti-terrorism bill C-51, has created a tremendous amount of noise.

Yet the federal Conservatives seem to have found that old pile of earplugs.

'Woe is Us': Oil Industry a Hot Mess After NDP Alberta Victory

While Jim Prentice and his Progressive Conservative cadre lick their wounds after last night’s landslide victory by the New Democratic Party and leader Rachel Notley, punditry about the oil industry’s place in the transformed province is in full force.

Even before the results were in, Canadians were being warned new leadership in Canada’s oilpatch will mean very scary things for the economy: fleeing investors, abandoned projects, market uncertainty.

Now that the victory bells have rung, the hand-wringing has leveled up.

The NDP win is “completely devastating,” for the energy industry, Rafi Tahmazian, fund manager for Canoe Financial LP, told Bloomberg.

The oil patch will pack up and leave,” Licia Corbella, editor of the Calgary Herald’s editorial page, tweeted. “Woe is us.”

Yet many other onlookers are saying fresh leadership in Alberta could bring long-overdue policy changes that not only benefit a broader cross-section of society, but industry itself, by remedying systemic imbalances that have granted an unhealthy amount of power to oil interests for far too long.

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