university of calgary

Five Things We Learned from the Damning Report on the University of Calgary’s Connections with Enbridge

University of Calgary Enbridge

Senior administrators at the University of Calgary suppressed academic freedom and failed to address glaring conflicts of interest while attempting to establish an Enbridge-funded research centre, according to a report commissioned by the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) that was released Wednesday.

The report — co-authored by Alison Hearn of the University of Western Ontario and Gus Van Harten of York University — is the result of almost two years of investigation, and starkly contradicts the findings of the university’s own internal review of the situation.

The Canadian Association of University Teachers is a nationwide federation of associations representing 70,000 post-secondary workers.

Academic staff and professors involved at the centre reached out to senior administrators and said ‘we’re concerned about Enbridge’s influence over the centre, we don’t think we should be a PR firm for Enbridge,’” said David Robinson, executive director of CAUT, in an interview with DeSmog Canada.

Fracking Fluid Caused Months-Long Earthquake Events In Alberta: New Study

Fracking

Fracking has induced earthquakes in northwest Alberta, Tweet: Proof is in the pudding: #fracking causing huge, long-lasting earthquakes in NW Alberta http://bit.ly/2g6F0rn #ableg #cdnpoli #oilandgassome of which have lasted for months due to residual fracking fluid, according to a new study published in Science today.

Earthquakes induced by fracking have been noticed in Western Canada for about four years, but this is one of the first studies to specifically identify the causes that resulted in “activation.”

Can Canada Save Its Fish Habitat Before It’s Too Late?

Salmon

Thirteen years ago, Canada’s Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) issued almost 700 authorizations to projects that would negatively impact fish habitat, mostly in the resource extraction sector: forestry, mining, oil and gas.

By last fiscal year, that number had dropped to 74.

One would think that’s a positive sign. Perhaps the DFO approved far fewer projects, echoing its ambitious 1986 commitment to “no net loss” of fish habitat?

That wasn’t the case.

Thanks to a number of changes — mostly via the “Environmental Process Modernization Plan” of the mid-2000s and the Conservative Party’s industry-led gutting of the Fisheries Act in 2012 — most projects are now “self-assessed” by proponents.

Over the same span, the DFO’s budget was repeatedly slashed, increasingly undermining the department’s ability to monitor and enforce contraventions with “boots on the ground.”

Harm is happening at the same levels that it always has been,” says Martin Olszynski, assistant professor in law at University of Calgary who specializes in environmental, water and natural resources law. “It’s just that fewer and fewer proponents are coming to DFO and asking for authorization. That’s the reality on the ground.”

Can Alberta’s Oilsands Monitoring Agency Be Saved?

Oilsands air pollution

“Transparent,” “credible, “world-class” — those are just a few of the words that have been deployed to detail the aspirations of the one-year-old organization tasked with monitoring the air, water, land and wildlife in Alberta.

But there are a lot of questions about whether the Alberta Environmental Monitoring, Evaluation and Reporting Agency (AEMERA), funded primarily by industry, has lived up to its goal to track the condition of the province’s environment.*

Unlike the Alberta Energy Regulator, which the new NDP government is considering splitting into two agencies to separate its conflicting responsibilities to both promote and policy energy development, AEMERA hasn’t spent much time in the public spotlight — yet.

Last October, Alberta’s auditor general slammed the agency for releasing its 2012-2013 annual report in June 2014, well after when it should have been released. The auditor general also said the report “lacked clarity and key information and contained inaccuracies.”

Convenient Conspiracy: How Vivian Krause Became the Poster Child for Canada’s Anti-Environment Crusade

Vivian Krause The Province

Today Vivian Krause published an opinion piece in The Province claiming “a vote for Vision is a vote for U.S. oil interests.” So, you might be wondering: just who is Vivian Krause? We’re so glad you asked…

An essential component of all public relations campaigns is having the right messenger— a credible, impassioned champion of your cause.

While many PR pushes fail to get off the ground, those that really catch on — the ones that gain political attention and result in debates and senate inquiries — almost always have precisely the right poster child.

And in the federal government and oil industry’s plight to discredit environmental groups, the perfect poster child just so happens to be Vivian Krause.

All Eyes on Christy Clark as Northern Gateway Decision Imminent

Christy Clark

With the federal government’s decision on Enbridge’s Northern Gateway oil tanker and pipeline proposal set to come in the next three weeks, the political hot potato is set to be launched back into B.C. Premier Christy Clark’s lap any day now.

Throughout 2012 and 2013, Clark doled out a lot of tough talk when it came to Northern Gateway, going so far as to tell The Globe and Mail that pushing ahead with the pipeline would spur a “national political crisis.”

Whether or not people supported the pipeline, they would band together to fight the federal government if they decided to intrude into British Columbia without our consent,” she told the newspaper in October 2012.

This project can only go ahead if it has the social licence to do so. It can only get the social licence from the citizens of British Columbia.”

Industry Money Corrupts Science at University of Calgary Research Centre

Oil and gas industry funding has corrupted research at the University of Calgary's Institute for Sustainable Energy, Environment and Economy (ISEEE), according to former head of the centre, climate scientist David Keith.

In an interview with CBC, Keith said the research institute has been unable to balance corporate interests with its environmental research. Keith also told the CBC that the University of Calgary removed one of its academic employees after bowing to pressure from Enbridge.

“That just fundamentally misconceives the university's role,” said Keith, who now works at Harvard University.

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