Monday, August 21, 2017 - 16:58 • Carol Linnitt
Adams River sockeye, A.S. Wright

Canada has failed to monitor and gather data on 50 per cent of all managed salmon populations on B.C.’s north and central coasts, according to a study released Monday in the Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences.

Researchers from Simon Fraser University found the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) is monitoring fewer streams now than before the introduction of a wild salmon policy in 2005 that was designed to assess the health of wild salmon populations and aid those deemed at risk.

Our knowledge of salmon populations in B.C. is eroding,” study co-author and Simon Fraser University researcher Michael Price told DeSmog Canada. “And it’s really frustrating.”

A number of salmon fisheries, including the Fraser and Skeena River sockeye fisheries, closed due to low salmon runs this summer.

Price and co-researcher John Reynolds found that since the 1980s, annual counts of spawning streams have declined by 70 per cent.

Friday, August 18, 2017 - 16:23 • Carol Linnitt
Ajax mine location

A group of Kamloops city councilors are asking the provincial and federal governments to consider concerns about the Ajax Mine they say were unaddressed by B.C.’s environmental assessment.  

The proposal for the gold and copper mine by the Polish firm KGHM Polska Miedz has been controversial, with concerns including mining dust, air quality impacts, tailings pond management, slope stability and watershed safety.

We feel our concerns as a city, as councilors and staff, have been completely ignored and it feels like the Environmental Assessment Office has been in bed with KGHM,” Kamloops city councilor Tina Lange told DeSmog Canada.

City council has voted to send an itemized list of concerns to elected officials before the final project decision is made.

Friday, August 18, 2017 - 10:48 • Guest
Fish Lake near the proposed New Prosperity Mine. Photo by Garth Lenz

By Gavin Smith, staff lawyer at West Coast Environmental Law Association. This piece first appeared in the Vancouver Sun.

B.C.’s new government is already seeing proof that it made the right move when it committed to reform environmental assessment and implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Taseko Mines’ New Prosperity mine proposal, back in the spotlight again for another round of litigation, is a poster child for the failings of B.C.’s environmental assessment regime — and the need for change.

The Tsilhqot’in National Government is currently seeking an injunction to prevent Taseko from digging test pits and conducting geotechnical drilling under provincial approvals granted in the last days of the outgoing government.

The proposed mine would be located within an area of Tsilhqot’in territory that includes Teztan Biny (Fish Lake). The Supreme Court of Canada has recognized constitutionally protected Tsilhqot’in hunting and trapping rights in the area. The region is also near to, but outside, the lands in which the Court recognized Tsilhqot’in aboriginal title.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017 - 22:14 • Sarah Cox
Site C dam construction

The decision to proceed with the Site C dam was “reckless and irresponsible” and continuing the project will result in a “series of devastating high electricity rate increases” that will lead to job losses and business failures, the former President and CEO of BC Hydro has told the B.C. Utilities Commission in a formal submission.

Marc Eliesen, who was at the helm of BC Hydro from 1992 to 1994, outlined why he believes the only financially responsible course of action is to cancel the $8.8 billion project and remediate the Peace River site in order to minimize Site C’s negative impact on BC Hydro customers and taxpayers.

Both the former government and BC Hydro’s Board abdicated their fiduciary responsibility to the rate payers and tax payers of this province,” Eliesen said in his 22-page submission to the BCUC, which is conducting a fast-tracked review of Site C’s finances and construction schedule.

There never was a business case for the start-up of construction of Site C, and there is not a business case to support its continuation or postponement.”

Wednesday, August 16, 2017 - 13:44 • James Wilt
John Ridsdale

Indigenous leaders from northern British Columbia are calling on the UN to investigate whether ongoing industrial development of Indigenous lands and waters constitutes a violation of UN conventions this week.

Canada is up for review by the UN International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. In a submission, tribes from B.C.’s northwest said Canada’s environmental assessment laws continue to measure money instead of impact.

One of the signatories is Deneza Na’Moks (John Ridsdale), a hereditary chief of the Wet’suwet’en. He travelled to the UN on the heels of the recent approval and then cancellation of Petronas’ plans to build a pipeline and the Pacific NorthWest liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant in the Skeena River estuary.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017 - 14:00 • James Wilt
Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister

Manitoba’s Progressive Conservative Premier Brian Pallister initially seemed very serious about confronting greenhouse gas emissions — a position that came as a surprise to many given the history of Canada’s conservative politicians sidestepping the tricky issue of climate change.

The party’s election platform pledged to “work with the federal government and other jurisdictions as we develop a made-in-Manitoba climate action plan.”

After winning a massive majority in April 2016, it hired Canadian climate policy legend and campaign manager David McLaughlin as senior adviser on the file.

An online survey was extended for an additional two weeks in March to allow for more public input.

These were all impressive things from a government led by Pallister, who had previously served as an MP in Stephen Harper’s notoriously anti-climate policy government.

But nearly 16 months later, the plan has never materialized.

Monday, August 14, 2017 - 15:13 • Emma Gilchrist
Grizzly bear trophy hunt

The B.C. government announced on Monday it will end grizzly bear trophy hunting throughout the province and stop all hunting of grizzles in the Great Bear Rainforest.

By bringing trophy hunting of grizzlies to an end, we’re delivering on our commitment to British Columbians,” Doug Donaldson, Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development, said. “This action is supported by the vast majority of people across our province.”

A public opinion poll conducted by Insights West in February found strong opposition to trophy hunting across Canada (80 per cent), including 90 per cent of British Columbians.

The ban will take effect Nov. 30th — after this year’s hunt.

Saturday, August 12, 2017 - 07:00 • Guest
Solar panel installation

By  Christopher Cheung for The Tyee.

The construction industry has a big role to play as Canada aims to meet to its commitment to the Paris climate agreement and transition to a greener economy, according to a new report.

We need that construction workforce to get us to net zero,” said Bob Blakely, the COO of Canada’s Building Trades Unions (CBTU), an alliance of 14 unions.

There hasn’t been much Canadian research on the construction industry’s role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, so the CBTU commissioned a study by think tank the Columbia Institute to investigate potential job growth as Canada moves towards a low-carbon economy.

According to the study, Jobs for Tomorrow – Canada’s Building Trades and Net Zero Emissions, a low-carbon economy could create almost four million direct building trades jobs by 2050 — and that’s a conservative estimate. These jobs include boilermakers, electrical workers, insulators, ironworkers and masons.

Pages