cumulative impacts

Is Trudeau Quietly Turning His Back On Fixing Canada’s Environmental Laws?

Justin Trudeau Environmental Reform DeSmog Canada

Scientists and environmental groups breathed a sigh of relief when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau quickly followed through on a campaign promise to modernize Canada’s environmental laws.

Within a year of being elected, the Liberals initiated four parallel reviews of key environmental legislation weakened or eliminated under former prime minister Stephen Harper.

But now, as that review process is coming to a close, experts are back to holding their breath.

Canada On Precipice of ‘Huge Step Forward’ For Environmental Assessments

Justin Trudeau Catherine McKenna EA Review

Hope may finally be in sight for fixing Canada’s environmental assessment process, after a four-member expert panel released a promising report on the heels of consultations in 21 cities across the country.

Historically, the focus of Canada’s environmental assessment has been on “avoiding harm” and “significant adverse impacts” associated with new projects, but the new approach recommended by the panel would shift the focus to a “net contribution to sustainability,” said Anna Johnston, staff counsel at West Coast Environmental Law.

The recommendations that the panel has made address a number of the concerns that were raised by the scientific community,” said Aerin Jacob, conservation scientist for the Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative. “I was pleasantly surprised.”

B.C. First Nation Sues Province for 'Unprecedented Industrial Disturbance' in Treaty 8 Territory

frack zone treaty 8 territory, vancouver observer

The Blueberry River First Nation from northeastern B.C. has filed a lawsuit against the province for allowing “unprecedented industrial disturbance” to threaten “their way of life,” according to a press statement released Wednesday.

The suit will call into question the future of industrial development in the northeast region of the province, including the Site C dam and natural gas fracking projects intended to feed B.C.’s burgeoning LNG industry.

The First Nation argues their territory “has been ravaged by development.”

Blueberry’s ancestors would not recognize our territory today. It is covered by oil and gas wells, roads, pipelines, mines, clear cuts, hydro and seismic lines, private land holdings, and waste disposal sites, amongst other things,” Chief Marvin Yahey said. “The pace and scale of development have accelerated in the last 25 years, and are now at unprecedented levels.”

The Beaver Lake Cree Judgment: The Most Important Tar Sands Case You’ve Never Heard Of

Sure they’re bad for the environment, for human health, and for wildlife, but we rarely stop to wonder if the Alberta tar sands are in fact unconstitutional.

But the constitutional standing of the tar sands – one of the world’s largest and most carbon-intensive energy projects – is just what’s at stake in a treaty rights claim the Beaver Lake Cree Nation (BLCN) is bringing against the Governments of Alberta and Canada in a case that promises to be one of the most significant legal and constitutional challenges to the megaproject seen in Canada to date.

Signaling the high-stakes of the whole dispute, it has taken five years of beleaguered fighting just to have the case go to trial. Canada and Alberta – the defendants – fought tooth and nail during those five years to have the claim dismissed outright, saying the case put forward by the BLCN was “frivolous, improper and an abuse of process.”

Subscribe to cumulative impacts