Features

Thursday, October 19, 2017 - 17:42 • Guest
Old-growth forest Shane Johnson
Old-growth forest Shane Johnson

By Torrance Coste and Mark Worthing

Last March, we travelled to northern Vancouver Island and hosted four public meetings about logging in the span of five days.

The topics? The loss of old-growth rainforests, raw log exports, and how unsustainable forestry is impacting ecosystems and communities up and down the Island. The meetings were tense, emotional, and exhausting.

There was pushback against a lot of our message, and many conversations were raw and difficult. We learned a ton.

In a few weeks, we’re going back to do it again.

Thursday, October 19, 2017 - 13:40 • Judith Lavoie
Salmon Farm
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.

Thursday, October 19, 2017 - 09:47 • James Wilt
Geamana village Romania
Geamana village Romania

Canadian mining company Gabriel Resources is suing Romania for $4.4 billion through a secretive tribunal after the country denied permits for the largest open-pit gold and silver mine in Europe — a project Canadian officials advocated for, according to documents obtained by DeSmog Canada.

Since 1997, the Canadian mining company (fun fact: it was founded by a man convicted twice of heroin possession), has pressured Romania to allow the construction of the proposed mine in northwest Romania.

The mine would destroy three villages, level four mountains and displace 2,000 people.

Tens of thousands of people marched against the Roșia Montană project in 2013 — the same year the Romanian parliament rejected permits for the mine’s construction. Since then, Romania has applied for the site to be designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017 - 10:07 • James Wilt
Oceti Sakowin Camp Standing Rock
Oceti Sakowin Camp Standing Rock

The battle against the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline could lead to the next Standing Rock and destroy any investment case for the project, according to a newly released report.

The report, commissioned by the Secwepemc nation and prepared by the Indigenous Network on Economies and Trade, is titled “Standing Rock of the North: The Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion Secwepemc Risk Assessment.”

Over the course of 35 pages, it articulates seven ways that Kinder Morgan Canada has failed “to account for the lack of political, legal, and proprietary certainty surrounding the pipeline.”

Tuesday, October 17, 2017 - 13:55 • Andrew Nikiforuk
Progress Energy Lily Dam
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.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017 - 12:45 • Judith Lavoie
geothermal National Renewable Energy Lab
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.

Monday, October 16, 2017 - 12:25 • Benjamin Israël
Alberta oiilsands Kris Krug
Alberta oiilsands Kris Krug

This article originally appeared on the Pembina Institute website.

Over the past 50 years, the development of the oilsands has changed the face of Alberta, driving innovation and technology to make oilsands a reality. The oilsands are the third largest oil reserve on earth, and despite a cycle of boom and busts, contribute to the prosperity of the province. Industry, however, has not addressed many of the largest environmental impacts generated by the oilsands, and much work is still left to be done. This blog is part of a series where we look back at the last 50 years of the oilsands industry and shed light on a number of the remaining challenges.

After 50 years of production, the oilsands remain among the world’s most carbon intensive large-scale crude oil operations. Studies continue to back this up.

Sunday, October 15, 2017 - 10:26 • James Hoggan
Tar Sands Healing Walk 2014 Zack Embree
Tar Sands Healing Walk 2014 Zack Embree

This piece originally appeared on the Toronto Star

What does reconciliation mean to you?”

I asked that question of Miles Richardson, a Haida leader, former chief commissioner of the B.C. Treaty Commission and a close friend since we started serving together on the board of the David Suzuki Foundation in 2001. I had recently come from a workshop discussion where I had earned criticism from an Indigenous leader for conflating reconciliation with forgiveness.

So, I was looking for an understanding of reconciliation that was deeper and more nuanced than the dictionary definition: “the restoration of friendly relations.”

Friday, October 13, 2017 - 14:45 • James Wilt
University of Calgary 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.

Friday, October 13, 2017 - 13:08 • Jimmy Thomson
Bella Bella Diesel Spill Clean Up October 29, 2016 Tavish Campbell
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.

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