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As Salmon Farm Tensions Escalate, Watchdog Finds Feds Failed to Fully Implement Cohen Commission Recommendations

Salmon Farm

The federal government is playing a shell game, claiming to have acted on most of the Cohen Commission recommendations, but failing to fully implement many of them, say critics, pointing to lack of action on fundamental issues such as fish farms and removing responsibility for the promotion of salmon farming from Fisheries and Oceans Canada.

They are being very disingenuous by deeming some of the recommendations irrelevant or saying they have addressed them when they have not implemented them,” said Chief Bob Chamberlin of the Kwikwasut’inuxw Haxwas’mis First Nation and chairman of the First Nations Wild Salmon Alliance.

The 2012 Commission of Inquiry into the Decline of Sockeye Salmon in the Fraser River, headed by Justice Bruce Cohen, cost taxpayers more than $37 million and came up with 75 recommendations designed to save wild salmon runs after the disastrous 2009 sockeye run.

B.C. Regulator Finds Numerous Frack Water Dams Unsafe, At Risk of Failure

Progress Energy Lily Dam

This article originally appeared on The Tyee.

At least seven of 51 large dams built by the province’s shale gas industry in northeastern B.C. were not safe and required “enforcement orders” to comply with the law.

Almost six months after an independent report raised serious questions about the legality and safety of earth dams built to hold water for the fracking industry, the province’s energy regulator now reports it is taking action.

The Oil and Gas Commission recently issued a bulletin saying it had inspected 51 dams northwest of Fort St. John last May and found “some issues” at seven different structures.

Geothermal Would Create 15 Times More Permanent Jobs Than Site C, Panel Told As BCUC Hearings Draw to Close

geothermal National Renewable Energy Lab

Opportunities provided by 21st century renewables, such as geothermal, wind and solar, have either been ignored or the costs over-inflated in BC Hydro documents justifying construction of the Site C dam, the B.C. Utilities Commission Site C Panel was told by presenters during two days of technical briefings.

Speaker after speaker pinpointed holes and inaccuracies in BC Hydro’s math, claiming the bottom line was skewed in favour of building the $8.8-billion dollar dam on the Peace River.

Geothermal power projects are thriving in Oregon and Idaho and the geology does not instantly change at the B.C. border, said Alison Thompson, chair of the Canadian Geothermal Energy Association (CanGEA), pointing to the number of hot springs and drilled natural gas wells in the province, which indicate the presence of geothermal resources.

So, how much has BC Hydro spent in the last 15 years in exploratory drilling for geothermal resources?” she asked.

‘No World-Class Spill Response Here’: Heiltsuk First Nation Pursues Lawsuit One Year After Tug Disaster

Bella Bella Diesel Spill Clean Up October 29, 2016 Tavish Campbell

Kelly Brown was awoken at 4:30 a.m. on October 13, 2016, by the kind of phone call nobody ever wants to receive: an environmental catastrophe was unfolding a 20-minute boat ride up the coast from his home in the community of Bella Bella.

I had to call this guy back because I wanted to make sure — because I’m half asleep — wanted to make sure that I heard him right, that there’s a tug that ran aground in our territory,” he recalls.

Brown is the director of the Heiltsuk Integrated Resource Management department, the branch of the Heiltsuk government in charge of the environmental stewardship of the First Nation’s traditional territory.

Two hours later he was on site with a team ready to respond.

It was total chaos,” says hereditary chief Harvey Humchitt.

That Time Trudeau Announced $360 Million for Roads to Yukon Mines That Haven't Been Approved Yet

Justin Trudeau Yukon Gateway Resources Announcement

In early September, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced more than $360 million in funding for roads to service mining operations in two remote regions of the Yukon.

There’s just one catch: most of those mines haven’t even been approved yet.  

Some worry the influx of investment — $247 million from the federal government and $112 million from the territory — handcuffs the region to mining development that hasn’t been demonstrated to serve the community’s long-term interests.

Don Reid, conservation zoologist for the Wildlife Conservation Society of Canada, said the timing of the announcement is problematic and calls the objectivity of the mine review process into question.

B.C.’s First Utility-Owned Solar Project Would Allow Citizens to Rent Solar Panels

100% Campaign Solar

If you live in the Okanagan or Kootenays and dream of putting solar panels on your roof, FortisBC has a proposition for you.

The private utility is proposing to build a 240-kilowatt solar array north of Kelowna — and is inviting its 170,000 electricity customers to rent any number of the 720 new solar panels.

If this pilot project moves forward (the B.C. Utilities Commission will decide by the end of the year), the Ellison Community Solar project will be the province’s first solar facility owned and operated by a utility. If approved, it could be built by the end of 2018.

B.C. Coal Mine Company Teck Fined $1.4 Million for Polluting B.C. River

Elk Valley coal mine

Teck Resources pled guilty Thursday to three violations of the federal Fisheries Act for polluting a tributary of the Elk River and was sentenced to pay a $1,425,000 penalty into the federal Environmental Damages Fund, which will help restore fish habitat in British Columbia’s Elk Valley.

On October 16, 2014, 45 dead fish were found in Line Creek near one of Teck’s five coal mines in the region. The following day, Environment Canada investigators found waste water from a Teck water treatment plant, put in place to deal with selenium pollution, was entering Line Creek, a tributary of Elk River.

Selenium is a naturally occurring chemical element, but it can be harmful in even very tiny amounts. Selenium pollution is produced by coal, uranium and bitumen extraction and is of growing concern in Canada.

The dead fish found by Environment Canada investigators included bull trout, a species of special concern in the region. The Fisheries Act  prohibits the deposit of deleterious substances into water frequented by fish.

BREAKING: Site C Dam $600 Million Over Budget, Will Miss River Diversion Timeline, Says BC Hydro CEO

Site C dam construction

BC Hydro’s new CEO Chris O’Riley has written a letter to the B.C. Utilities Commission stating that the crown corporation will not meet the timeline for river diversion for the Site C dam, which will add $610 million to the project’s price tag.

BC Hydro has encountered some geotechnical and construction challenges on the project and the risk to the river diversion timeline has now materialized,” O’Riley wrote.

Based on the recent completion of a constructability review and an executive meeting with our Main Civil Works contractor on September 27, 2017, we have now determined that we will not be able to meet the current timeline for river diversion in 2019.”

TransCanada Cancels Energy East Oilsands Pipeline

TransCanada pipeline

Canadian pipeline company TransCanada announced today it will no longer be proceeding with its proposed Energy East Pipeline and Eastern Mainline projects.

After careful review of changed circumstances, we will be informing the National Energy Board that we will no longer be proceeding with our Energy East and Eastern Mainline applications,” said president and CEO Russ Girling in a statement released Thursday morning.

The $15.7 billion Energy East pipeline planned to transport 1.1 million barrels of oil per day from western Canada’s oilsands to refineries in Quebec and Saint John, New Brunswick, as well as an export terminal in New Brunswick.

Alaskans Push U.S. Government to Investigate B.C.’s Border Mines

Red Chris Mine by Garth Lenz|DeSmog Canada

Fish and wildlife in Alaska’s major watersheds are threatened by six British Columbia mines close to the Alaska border, according to a new petition that asks U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross to investigate the threat of acid-mine drainage, heavy metals pollution and the possibility of catastrophic dam failure originating in the Canadian province.

The formal petition, organized by a coalition of Alaskan tribal governments and conservation groups, calls for the International Joint Commission to investigate threats from B.C. mines that will continue to hang over the watersheds for centuries after their closure.

It’s a very urgent issue and it’s important to a lot of people and their families,” Kenta Tsuda of Earthjustice, a signatory of the petition, told DeSmog Canada. “Their communities are at risk.”

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